Stemming from a threatened raise in state cannabis cultivation taxes, the Cannabis Business Association of Sonoma County and the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Enthusiasts have joined forces and plan to ask for “immediate tax reform” from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 7.
“Every licensed cultivator is in dire survival mode, said local cannabis regulatory attorney Joe Rogoway, who drafted resolutions to present to supervisors requesting the county lobby the state to repeal the cultivation tax. They’re also asking the county to eliminate or suspend its local cultivation tax for three years.
Sonoma County taxes a dozen types of licensed growers from $1.12 to $12.65 per square foot depending on the category.
Rogoway contends the unprecedented tax structure was established after voters passed adult, recreational use in Proposition 64 in 2016 based on what farmers could grow on their property. It was based on “the fiction” the industry had unlimited potential.
“That fantasy never panned out,” he said.
Ranging from lobbyists to ancillary producers to dispensary owners and advocates, many fear a collapse of an industry already reeling over a drop in prices, ongoing competition with the illicit market and already burdensome tax structures on federal, state and local levels.
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