Cannabis Alliance Updates Oversight Board on State of Industry – Lake County Record-Bee

LAKEPORT—The Board of Supervisors heard a proposal from the Lake County Cannabis Alliance regarding changes to current regulations and tax requirements that could ease the financial burden faced by local growers. The full proposal included an approximate timeline in which there could be an immediate reduction in taxes, longer-term regulatory changes allowing seed sales operations and possibly the ability for farmers to expand into the industry. agrotourism with resorts and circuits.

According to the presentation given by LCCA President Jennifer Smith and Treasurer Erin McCormick, over the past few months, growers and other industry experts have banded together in the fight to stay afloat in the cannabis industry in decline. The Lake County Cannabis Alliance was founded in 2019 and has been at the forefront of this fight, hosting monthly meetings and other events. The proposal includes immediate relief such as tax cuts for all industry sectors, moving to a gross receipts tax model as other counties have done and revisiting zoning restrictions and authorized permits. Longer term, they are calling for major changes to current distribution, processing and retail systems, updates to current permits, and the creation of pathways to modernize farms with the overall goal of establishing the county of Lake as the “Napa of cannabis”.

Supervisors agreed that changes need to be made to regulations and taxation if the industry is to move forward and become the mecca of cannabis tourism. Currently, the county has extended tax due dates to May 15 without late penalties, but members of the public at a public hearing argued that was not enough. County tax administrator Patrick Sullivan has presented some ideas that he says would eliminate the grow tax for good, including a tax cut of about 15%. Sullivan said they could also extend current due dates by a year and temporarily reduce taxes by 50% for this year and 25% next year. This would be on a “site by site” basis.

According to Sullivan, some sites would experience a much greater reduction, while others would be minimal.

The rest of the board was eager to change the cultivation tax above all else, noting that they needed to stay aligned with the state’s ever-changing regulations. They also discussed the implementation of public funds received under an equity program to help struggling industry members.

The discussion also fell short of determining how long the application process might take, how much it would cost, and how long until funds are available. Supervisor Tina Scott asked “Isn’t Lake County one of the (municipalities with) lower taxes?” Sullivan explained “It’s hard to compare ourselves to gross revenue counties” when explaining how Humboldt cut taxes by more than 75%. Council and county staff have agreed that the issue requires greater attention to formulate a permanent solution, and will revisit the canopy issue on March 22 and even later in late April.

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