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Sonoma County supervisors to consider cannabis tax relief options

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David Drips, co-owner of Petaluma Hill Farms walks through a hoop house filled with marijuana plants on his property in Petaluma, Calif., on Thursday, August 26, 2021.(Beth Schlanker/The Press Democrat)

The debate over tax cuts for California’s struggling cannabis industry is returning to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, where supervisors will consider a two-pronged tax-relief proposal.

In the short term, county staff are recommending the cultivation tax on growers be cut by 10%. The board is also set to review a longer-term plan that could switch the basis on which growers are taxed, going from square footage to gross receipts.

The proposals stem from a concerted push by industry advocates to ease the twin burdens of taxes and regulations. Local growers and others across California say they face going out business or back into the black market under the strain of paying state and local taxes and complying with a new host of land-use regulations.

A recent tax hike at the state level buoyed their calls for relief, and on Jan. 25 the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a delay the due date for first quarter taxes to April 30.

But the assistance now proposed by county staff would come at a cost to taxpayers, reducing projected annual baseline tax revenue by $362,000, according to a staff report.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Sonoma County’s Mercy Wellness free medical cannabis program a team effort with Mendocino County grower, Oakland distributor

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Mercy Wellness is teaming up with an East Bay cannabis producer and Mendocino County grower in doling out free medicinal marijuana.

Under the “Compassion Donation” program, the dispensary company started giving away free cannabis last June at its Cotati location and three months later at its Santa Rosa retail outlet, which opened last May. Since mid-2021, the dispensary has donated about $50,000 worth of cannabis product.

The concept behind the compassion program came about from California Senate Bill 34, named the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act. It allows licensed retailers to provide free cannabis to medicinal patients or their primary caregivers, upon meeting specified requirements.

The bill authorizes those licensees to contract with a sanctioned “individual or organization to coordinate the provision of free medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products on the retailer’s premises,” the bill’s language reads. The bill, signed into law in October 2019, expires in five years.

“The whole effort was centered on compassion,” Mercy Wellness Director of Procurement Joe Sullivan told the Business Journal. “And the compassion program is a way to give back.”

Continue Reading on North Bay Business Journal

Old Roseland school site of new cannabis business? Neighbors say no

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Two area businesswomen want to open a cannabis growing, manufacturing and retail distribution facility in a building that once housed a Roseland charter school, but some area residents say they object to that kind of business in their neighborhood.

Old School Cannabis, which has applied for permission to operate at the site, will be considered by the Santa Rosa Planning Commission during a scheduled meeting Thursday afternoon.

The business’ owners say it could create as many as 50 jobs during peak production periods. Local residents would receive first consideration for any open positions and the business, itself, would attract a significant cross-section of patrons to the area.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Commentary: Cultivating cannabis in Sonoma County

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The Sonoma County Supervisors are considering an update to the county cannabis cultivation ordinance. It would allow for ministerial permits for cultivation through the agricultural commissioner, if one qualifies, instead of a 3-5-year public hearing process. Staff has come up with very restrictive policy, and documented no significant environmental impacts due to the limited amount of potential available acreage.

The supervisors must adopt the Mitigated Negative Declaration and authorize the ministerial process review for correctly zoned and sized properties in all water zones. This is critical for my company, Elyon Cannabis, and also for the whole county to support the supply chain of this expanding industry.

Continue Reading on Sonoma West Times & News

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