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#1 2018-02-24 18:26:48

Registered: 2018-02-24
Posts: 48

Humboldt County attorney claims marijuana tax changes illegal

Originally posted at: http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/articl … /180209914

A local cannabis defense attorney said Tuesday that he intends to sue Humboldt County for what he says are illegal changes made to its marijuana cultivation tax last year.

Alderpoint-based attorney Eugene Denson said the original version of the tax placed on the November 2016 ballot by the county in the form of Measure S taxed cultivators based on the total area of cannabis that was grown and pro-rated the tax based on the time of cultivation.

Denson claims that changes made by the Board of Supervisors to the tax in June 2017 illegally modified the tax without voter approval. Following the board’s changes, the tax is now being assessed based on the total area of cannabis allowed to be grown under their permit — regardless of whether they grow that amount — and bills the owner of the property where the cultivation takes place, Denson said.

“They didn’t write Measure S very well. That’s what it came down to,” Denson said Tuesday. “When they finally figured it out they made these changes to facilitate the bureaucracy.”

Denson is calling for the county to repeal the tax code back to the original language in Measure S or face a lawsuit. County Counsel Jeffrey Blanck said Tuesday that the county has no plans to comply with Denson’s demands.

“We disagree with all of [Denson’s claims] and don’t think there is any legal violation or basis to set aside the ordinance or its interpretation,” Blanck said.

The county sent a brief letter dated Monday to Denson stating that the changes were consistent with Measure S and do not violate state law. Denson said Tuesday he has yet to receive any response from the board or Blanck.

The county’s cultivation tax ranges from $1 to $3 per square foot of cultivation depending on whether the grow is outdoor, mixed-light or indoor. The county collects the tax based on the cultivation area on the person’s permit, not based on how much cannabis is actually grown like the state’s cultivation tax.

“There are 2,200 permits,” Denson said. “The area cultivated has to be ascertained for each of those permits. Apparently at some point [the county] figured that out and decided to go with something easier to do than sending people out to 2,200 places to measure the cultivation area.

The county Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office expects to collect more than $5.8 million in revenue from the cultivation tax for 2017, with the bulk of the revenue expected to come from the last round of tax bills sent out earlier this month, according to Treasurer-Tax Collector John Bartholomew on Tuesday.

Bartholomew said that the last round of tax bills was primarily sent to cultivators who had received temporary permits before the end of 2017. These temporary permits allowed these growers to obtain a state license before or soon after the statewide marijuana market opened on Jan. 1.

But some cannabis growers decided to wait until 2018 to apply for a temporary permit, which exempted them from having to pay the tax.

County Planning and Building Director John Ford told the board earlier this month that this has caused frustration among cannabis farmers who obtained their permits before the end of 2017 and who had to pay the tax even if they were not cultivating.

Ford said the farmers are calling for the county to either waive their tax payments for 2017 or require the ones who waited until 2018 to pay their taxes as well.


#2 2018-02-26 19:55:34

Registered: 2018-02-26
Posts: 20

Re: Humboldt County attorney claims marijuana tax changes illegal

This was totally unfair!
I payed my cultivation tax for 2017 but me neighbor was too late and didn't have to pay?
How does this even make sense, an intern permit for 2 weeks of the year?
We payed the full taxation amount and others are off the hook?
Once again smacking it to the little guy.

When do we get rewarded for following the rules?


#3 2018-02-27 08:12:55

From: Myers Flat, CA
Registered: 2018-02-24
Posts: 19

Re: Humboldt County attorney claims marijuana tax changes illegal

The original text said one thing the county implemented it a different way.
If you ask me, that compromised a completely different wording of the law.
It must be redone. The lazy county supervisors do not get to change there mistakes afterwards without doing it the rigth way.
The law needs to be re-written and put up for a vote with 2/3 of the county voting YES!

Myers Flat is Where its At........ Yea. We keep hearing that..


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