SLO supervisors maintain the cannabis tax rate at 6%; some producers are asking for more flexible restrictions

KCBX News publishes a correction. We broadcast and published an article about the cannabis tax rate in San Luis Obispo County which increased by 2% on July 1 when in fact the supervisory board voted in a special meeting on June 25 to keep the rate at 6%.

We deeply regret the error.

In 2018, voters in San Luis Obispo County approved Measure B-18, which imposed a tax on gross receipts from cannabis companies starting at 4% and increasing annually to a maximum of 10%.

But at the June 25 board meeting, supervisors voted to keep the tax rate at 6% before July 1, when it was due to drop to 8%.

In an interview with KCBX, District 3 Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg explained her reasoning behind voting not to raise the tax.

“We know the county’s efforts to create a cannabis ordinance that allows a path forward for projects, but don’t overdo it – it doesn’t exceed the wishes of the community. I mean, we’re trying to keep a balance here. We therefore want to support the industry, but we also want to be attentive to the communities. “

Ortiz-Legg said she recognizes that due to COVID-related delays, some of the cannabis business applicants in SLO County are just getting started.

“And so that didn’t seem like the right way to welcome them into the industry to raise their taxes right away,” Ortiz-Legg said. But she acknowledged that some communities are wary of the new industry. “So as a board of directors we weigh these competing interests,” she said.

Supervisor Debbie Arnold was the only dissenter in the vote, arguing that the county should stick to the B-18 measure approved by voters and increase the tax to 8%.

“This tax schedule has been approved by the voters – over 76%, I believe – it is important to me that we would cancel something that was not approved by us, but approved by the voters,” he said. Arnold said at the June 25 meeting.

Supervisor Ortiz-Legg says she acknowledges the tax schedule was approved by voters, but there were things voters didn’t know in 2018.

“I think what the voters approved is all good, except what the voters didn’t know – and what we didn’t know in 2018 – is the fact that it was going to take hundreds of thousands of dollars. to these candidates to get through the system, ”Ortiz-Legg said.

Ortiz-Legg said many applicants are currently stranded awaiting approval due to lawsuits, and she believes it makes no sense to increase the tax on the relatively small number of companies approved in the SLO County.

“And so I think if voters understood the whole picture at this point, they would see why we kept it at 6%,” Ortiz-Legg said.

Some local producers would like the tax on gross receipts on cannabis to be even lower than 6%, along with some of the cannabis regulations in SLO County relaxed.

Austen Connella is the CEO of Slocal Roots Farms.

“As a farm here, we waited almost nine months after we got our land use approval, we had to wait for the sheriff to publish their security requirements, and then we had to implement those requirements. security before we can develop, ”Connella mentioned.

Connella says it cost her farm a year of cultivation, which cost the county lost tax revenue.

Neighboring Santa Barbara County has a 4% gross revenue tax on cannabis cultivation, which cannabis growers like Connella say San Luis Obispo County should follow.

The next SLO County Supervisory Board meeting is scheduled for July 13. It is unclear whether or not the council will address the cannabis tax issue at this meeting, as the agenda has yet to be released.

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