San Andreas, CA — This week, in a rare unanimous cannabis-related vote, the Calaveras supervisors agreed to move a commercial cannabis tax measure onto the November ballot.
The county is already regulating commercial cannabis under an ordinance passed last year by a 3-2 vote. According to Board Chair and District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway, to date, 24 permits approved through the county and the state, are now operating under those licenses.
The ordinance passed Tuesday is a tax measure package that if approved by voters, will replace the Measure C tax ordinance currently on the books. The current tax, based on growers’ dry product weight, is far from being considered a best practice because it allows growers to ship plants before the marijuana is dried, avoiding the tax. The new system would tax growers a maximum based on the canopy size they are licensed for regardless if they decide to grow less.
District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli and District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills, the two board members who voted against allowing for regulating a commercial marijuana industry, agreed to back the measure after each making input which was incorporated to their satisfaction. One such change, suggested by Mills, was to require a four-fifths vote instead of a board majority to amend the ordinance.
Callaway says she is happy with the outcome because the measure as it is written, will make the ordinance easier to administer and give the board some flexibility to amend it as the industry continues to evolve without having to bring another measure to the ballot.
As the state and local industry is still morphing, Callaway says the measure also allows for the ability to incorporate emerging best practices to determine what the cultivators owe, such as using tax records, filings, or track and trace documents.
“It is still evolving which system will be best — it will be up to the tax assessor and the cannabis unit to determine as we move forward through the learning experience,” she explains.
Currently, she says at the rate established in the proposed measure, the county will probably garner an estimated $1.7 million in taxes from the current licensees.