A recent announcement that the Central Coast’s Vandenberg Air Force Base will serve as a key operations center for the country’s expanding military activities in space has put a focus on the city of Lompoc. The military base is currently the chief economic driver for the Santa Barbara County city, but the city is in flux. Since the passage of Prop. 64, Lompoc has been one of the most open on the Central Coast to embracing the cannabis industry, and is now home to three retail cannabis shops with more planned to open. Some in the community are working to make it a cannabis destination, and the six percent gross receipt tax all commercial cannabis businesses pay is helping city coffers. But it’s not enough to fix Lompoc’s many budgetary woes. The city is also facing a rise in property and violent crimes, which many connect to the 2018 sweeps of the nearby Santa Ynez riverbed, moving dozens of homeless people onto Lompoc’s streets. KCBX’s Tyler Pratt recently spoke with Lompoc Record reporter Willis Jacobson to unpack these issues. Click the play button above to listen to their conversation.
[Editor’s note on July 31, 2019: The above paragraph has been edited to better reflect the content of the interview. The audio, originally edited for time, now contains a previously-unaired question about cannabis in Lompoc.]