August 20, 2018, Calaveras County
Prop. 64, the measure to legalize adult-use legalization in California, allow county administrations to put local bans on the cultivation and sales of marijuana. From the day one, cannabis advocates are censuring this decision because of its convoluted implications. Crisis brewing in Calaveras County, a rural community near Sacramento, has eventually validated the concerns of cannabis activists. The county has put a ban on cannabis cultivation after collecting million of taxes from the farmers.
How it happened?
The county’s supervisory board approved pro-cannabis cultivation ordinance in 2015 allowing local farmers to grow cannabis in order to deal with the financial woes inflicted by a wildfire. In the following year, the county collected a good sum of money in the name of farm registration fees from over 700 cultivators. By the end of 2016, cultivation taxes were also imposed on the farmers after the approval of Measure C by voters.
However, new supervisors assumed the office during the same time period who were clearly antagonistic towards cannabis. After months of deliberations, they have imposed a complete ban on cannabis cultivation. So, when rest of the state was waiting for the blanket legalization to become reality, cannabis farmers in Calaveras County was jolted by the cultivation ban.
Two of the most notable lawyers known for their expertise on local cannabis laws has filed a lawsuit against the county administration on the behalf of affected farmers. Instead of taking on the officials on the ban, the attorneys have made the case that the County has violated the state’s Business and Professional Code by collecting registration fees and taxes from the farmers prior to the implementation of statewide cannabis regulations.
It has been estimated that the county had collected $12.3 million from registration and cultivation taxes before putting the ban on cannabis cultivation. CEO of a local cannabis growing company, Golden State Herb, is also one of the co-plaintiffs in the case. He has demanded on the behalf of all cannabis farmers for the reimbursement of the paid taxes and fees.
Local economy experts are still trying to process this inconceivable decision of Calaveras County. Aside from obliterating the business model of hundreds of farmers in its jurisdiction, the county has also conceived difficulties for itself. A couple of months ago, the county administrators announced that they were facing a budget deficit of $9.2 million. With uprooting the revenue stream of cannabis taxes, the deficit will only get aggravated with time. On the other hand, the local hotel industry has to bear the brunt of this deficit because the administrators have announced to raise their tax rates.
Calaveras cannabis farmers believe that Dennis Millis, the county supervisor who took the charge in 2016, is majorly responsible for this mess. He is a staunch opponent of cannabis legalization. He openly rejected the approval of Prop.64 by terming it as a threat to county’s ethnic characters and security. Cannabis farmers are now entirely banking on the court to rule the ban unlawful.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]