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Civil Grand Jury

The ever-evolving cannabis industry remains nothing short of beleaguered; with the crash of the legal, regulated market and uptick in the black market the operators are being challenged at every turn. Recently, the local industry has been the focus of not only the Board of Supervisors but also the Civil Grand Jury. Last week, the entire afternoon at the Supervisor’s meeting was cannabis focused and the civil grand jury released their report “Up in Smoke” publicly. The attention is merited as our local economy remains on the brink of bankruptcy and the County is relying on the tax revenue for funding various community projects.

Of note is the Citygate report and their recommendations made for changes within the cannabis program, planning and building departments in hopes to streamline the entitlement process, strengthen customer service and process all applications more efficiently. Also before the Board is a standalone ordinance to establish the provisional cannabis business permit. The purpose behind the provisional business permit is to enable large operators whose provisional licenses will terminate on January 1, 2024 to continue operations while pursuing annual local and state licenses. The permit will be granted to all current operators and will be effective for one (1) year. This is a critical component to allow businesses to obtain annual state licenses while the provisional licenses sunset.

In larger State news, last week Governor Newsom announced his new budget priorities that included a proposal to eliminate the State’s cultivation tax that growers are required to pay usually before their crop has been sold. As is currently stands, cultivators are assessed a tax of over $10.00 per every ounce of dried cannabis flower produced. This tax is in addition to the local cultivation tax they also have to pay even if they don’t sell their product. As it has been reported previously the tax burden is far too costly for the operators and is forcing companies out of business. This relief is not only welcomed but absolutely necessary.

Jennifer Rosenthal is a local cannabis and criminal defense attorney. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and does not reflect an official position of the Association.

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