Catching Up on Cannabis: Stories You Need to Know

$100 money buds

Article posted first in the North Coast Journal and written by Thadeus Greenson. Reprinted here with their kind permission.

The state of California is in the midst of its first large-scale cannabis testing scandal. Sequoia Analytical Labs, based in Sacramento, was one of just 44 licensed testing facilities in the state until it surrendered its license to the state last week after it was discovered the company’s lab director had been falsifying test results, potentially having put pesticide-laced products on the market since July 1.

The laboratory announced the news in an email to clients and postings on its social media sites, saying it was “horrified to learn about this severe breach of a very important safety regulation.”

The scandal came to light after a routine inspection by the Bureau of Cannabis Control on Nov. 27 found that of the 66 pesticides the state requires products be tested for, the lab was only testing for 44 due to a “faulty instrument.” But a subsequent investigation by Sequoia found that its lab director knew about the problem and was “secretly falsifying results” in order to get products on the shelves for almost five months. (The lab director has been fired and Sequoia says it hopes to get re-licensed by January.)

The BCC has told Sequoia to contact its distributors and alert them of the problem so that affected products can be recalled and re-tested. (The company is offering to retest products free of charge for affected clients, though it’s no longer licensed to do so.)

Sequoia General Manager Steven Dutra told Marijuana Business Daily that the issue potentially impacts 700 to 800 batches of products that were improperly tested over the five-month period, noting that many products have likely already been sold through retailed outlets and consumed by customers.

In addition to being a colossal headache for distributors and retailers that handle Sequoia-tested products, and potentially dangerous for those who consumed the products, losing a licensed laboratory can only worsen the testing bottleneck that exists throughout the state, frustrating cultivators, distributors, retailers and just about everyone else in the industry.

It’s currently unclear if Sequoia’s problems have impacted any cultivators, manufacturers, distributors or retailers on the North Coast.

[And closer to home]

If you’ve noticed a bit of a whirring sound emanating from the northwest corner of the first floor of the Humboldt County Courthouse recently, it’s not your imagination. The county tax collector’s office has had several cash counting machines on its front counters recently and they’ve been busy.

County Tax Collector John Bartholomew reports that the county sent out roughly $17.7 million in cannabis excise tax bills for 2018, and as of the Nov. 30 deadline, had received about $10.3 million in payments, roughly half of which were made in cash. (To put that number in perspective, the county spends about $9.4 million from its general fund on the sheriff’s office operations budget and roughly $3.9 million to fund the entirety of the district attorney’s office.)

For those keeping score at home, the county took in roughly $4.6 million in payments last year, about 84 percent of what was billed. This year, the county has only received payments thus far on 58 percent of what it’s billed. (It saw about 78 percent of what it billed in the first 2018 cycle paid but the number dropped to roughly 50 percent for second installments and then 55 percent for bills sent out in October to operations that received licenses this year.)

Bartholomew said payments are still trickling in, noting that late payers face a 10-percent penalty — like with property taxes — and, as of Jan. 1, delinquent bills will start to accrue interest.

Asked how all those new cash counting machines the county brought in to deal with the influx of cannabis excise tax payments are working, Bartholomew chuckled.

“We were one of the earlier (California) counties to start using cash counters, just because of the nature of Humboldt County’s economy,” Bartholomew said, adding that about five years ago, he did an analysis and found that roughly $5 million of the county’s $168 million in property tax payments were made in cash, a tidbit that raised a few eyebrows in California tax collector circles.

For the record, the county tax collector’s office is on its third generation of cash counting machines, which now also test for counterfeit bills and log serial numbers.

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60 comments

  • The first part – I’M SHOCKED!!!

    Last part – $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ voluntary protein hurl.

    Keep your eye on the man behind the curtain.

    • Like with our present “not my potus ” follow the money.

      • Trump is not responsible for this, democrats are. People are paying how much in taxes to grow? Fuck this democrat run state. Look at France, it’s coming to Calif, let’s rid ourselves of these liars and thieves. The yellow jackets chased out 200 tax collectors there, sounds like a good idea. There has to be a way to grow this stuff and not pay these asshole politicos your money. They laugh at you all day, and we know they are skimming your money for themselves, just wait, it will come out.

        • CITY AND COUNTY ORDINANCES ARE ONLY FOR
          CITY AND COUNTY-OWNED PROPERTY

          Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes, 526 U.S., 143 L Ed 2d 882, 119 S.Ct._(1999): [T]he District Court’s jury instructions directed the jury that (1) it should find for the landowner if the jury found that (a) the landowner had been denied all economically viable use of its property, or (b) the city’s decision did not substantially advance a legitimate public purpose (the jury awarded the landowner $8 million for the ‘takings’ and $1.45 million for the city’s unlawful acts -no just compensation or providing an adequate post deprivation remedy for the loss). The County is liable for any city employee violating the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment. The property owner owns all bundle of rights that come with his Deed, as he bought it ‘as is’ and nobody can convert, alter, change or amend his deed except him. The law forbids the City or County to amend any deed, steal any deed, restrict its use, or to use deceit, extortion, fear, and threats to get the owner to amend it by restricting his ownership and use of livestock, property, or his land. Post-deprivation loss also attaches to the sale of any agriculture or other commodity in interstate OR intrastate commerce, which sales were diminished by the takings/restriction. This includes anything the landowner would buy for his use and enjoyment of his property, building materials, landscaping/gardening supplies, animal feed, livestock, pets, vehicles, etc. Damages for the takings without just compensation and for the extortion will be decided by a jury pursuant to the Seventh Amendment.

          I have 5 pages of this stuff.

        • Well said count me in brother.

          • I’m In.
            the numbers show: The expected revenue is way out of line with the counties needs or costs. They looked at weed growers as if each has millions waiting to be spent. They got greedy. The County penalized the early applicants. I signed their form on December 28th, 2017 and got billed for 2017. When I was in paying, some loser was in there without his bill, didn’t know his parcel number, turned out they had an incomplete, or late application, so… no bill. I paid $9,000 for having my shit together. The county got me for $8,000 in staff time. (seperate from the excise tax) I have a slack ass neighbor who has done none of the things I had to do like buy water tanks, etc. ( grew more too) As far as he knows, no staff time charges! WTF? he had a consultant, theres no way that she submitted a $8,000 more complete app. He’s got a state temp, and a county interim. There is no parity between applicants. Each one is treated different. I’m not even getting into how we were pushed to claim greater square footage than we’d ever used.
            I could write an article length comment on all the BS. every agency involved has charges, and attitudes way out of line with the “service” they’re providing. Then you get to the white market testing. I have a friend who’s 120 pounds passed “R&D” testing, but lo and behold! once the distributors got it, and you can’t get it back: amazing. fails. for asperilligus the most common fungal spore in the world . If it’s on all this weed, then folks have been smoking it for 5,000 years. The next big “testing scandal” will be how 20% of the white market product is getting stolen and pushed out the back door!
            Anyway, I guess our net income from weed must have been about $40,000 for a family of four, because we are broke, can’t pay the last installment, once we do, will have spent 40k on fees taxes and water tanks, just in 2018.

            • You might want to get the new 5.0 permitting for corporate Growers streamlines the whole process with Nationwide Distributing

      • Casio Cortez, a commie, said roe v wade were two ways illegals get to US. Stupid idiot. The real idiots are those who voted for her. Voting for commies and socialists is a very un American thing to do, they are proven loser govt models. Hitler was a socialist, Stalin was a commie, Mao was a communist, and now look at the losers in south america, where their people, under socialist rule, are trying to stop it, and have to eat their dogs to survive. Why do people vote for these loser models of govt? You are not an intelligent person if you do.

        • Can you provide a link to what you said Casio Cortez said?

        • Capitalism is based on slavery and destruction and is an utter failure. Wealth disparity is at an all time high, while the capitalist’s congress and corporations poison us then deny healthcare, education, housing. Btw, Hitler was a Nazi (Nationalist) and Venezuela just opened 9 new FREE universities. So who’s the stupid idiot? You! As Cortez says, we need a Green New Deal and no more wars for oil!

          • You need to research before you post

            The National Socialist German Workers’ Party

            This is what NAZI definition is
            I see socialist but not nationalist

          • In my 1911 I trust

            Lol. Venezuela is piss poor and is absolutely corrupt. There are Venezuelans dying in the street from starvation. People are eating their dogs. You are right though, everyone is equally poor, so there is no wealth disparity. Just gov’t officials are rich who have pilfered what little wealth was left after Venezuela’s economic collapse. Communism always ends the exact same way, in failure and consolidation of wealth to the UPPER class. Needless to say, we are no longer a capitalist country, we have been socialist for a good decade with our redistribution of wealth, tax and welfare. And our social programs, social security, medical, Medicaid, food stamps. Our poor are the richest poor in the world, our rich are the richest rich in the world. Our middle class is disappearing because of our desire to redistribute wealth through taxes. The poor don’t pay taxes, because they are below the taxable level of income. Our rich pay very little taxes(relative to their income, they actually pay about 75% of taxes in this country) through their use of accountants who find tax loop holes and use tax write-offs. The middle class is left holding the bag on taxes, which liberals and college kids continuously vote to raise. We then wonder why life is so hard, answer is that we made it this way. Don’t worry though, once we tax ourselves into poverty we won’t have to pay taxes anymore and we’ll be eligible for those same social programs we are paying for now.

          • Capitalism has pulled billions of people from poverty. It has enriched humans more than any other political or economic system.

            Wealth disparity is high because there is more wealth than ever.

            The poor in the USA are richer than the rich in many countries and wealthier than any in the USA 150 years ago.

            Communism has killed 100’s of millions. It is evil.

            • it’s almost funny when you defend people who are screwing you. Yes more wealth, but in the hands of fewer. The wealth comes from somewhere. It comes from the middle class. This affects left, right, and center.
              Lets take the inheritance tax, known as the “death tax” on Fox News. It only affects .02% of the population inheriting $250,000 at once. Note thats not a $250,000 fortune, divided up between siblings, it’s one descendant recieving that much, so 4 children would have to split $1,000,000 to activate it. Meanwhile, My Grandpa, worked his whole life. On the Farm, then for GE’s Fridgidare division. As he got older he had to sell all his posessions to survive. He sold their house in Ohio for $70,000. All his money went to health care because it a “market” now you get to “shop for”. Brius Healthcare got the last of his money, while he lived in that shitty depressing nursing home. The inheritance tax never matters to most Americans, yet we defend the interests of people these people making more money than we can imagine, off our labor!
              It makes a difference when your grandkids can no longer afford college, to keep the American dream alive, and government is made up of rich kids from the in crowd. Look at Justice Kavanaugh. Your kids will never go to Yale. never have a chance to be on the court. Did you know that Justice Neil Gorsuch’s Mom was George H. W. Bush’s EPA head? You gotta be part of that 1% crew.

            • Capitalism sews the seeds of its own destruction. But you make a great useful pawn for the capitalists.

          • Yea Venezuela is real nice bet their free schools are wonderful haha lol. Sheep

        • Medicare is socialism, social security is socialism, rich states(California, NewYork,etc.)subsidizing poor states(Alabama,Mississippi, etc)is socialism. Get over yourself.

      • We’re talking local Willie not 3,000 miles away 🙂

    • The name “Dutra” was all you needed to hear.

  • Thank God for legalization! Cannabis wasn’t legalized yeah regulated we would never find out about these things.

    • The factual amounts? No, we’ll never find out. They pay money that is not theirs, that they did not earn, to bring in a mobile shredder business from Sacramento to destroy the records that may have, oops, been written down.

  • Disgusting. Criminal types bribed into submission (or false submission, with the low tax turnout so far). The county will take the cash and give it to DHHS, misusing it on welfare queens with too many kids (and employee’s fat salaries). The county employees are the worst. I bet they cannot count cash and therefore bought the machines so they don’t look more incompetent than usual. DHHS wastes millions on fraudulent Calfresh and MediCal.

    • For sure. HHS needs to be gone.

      Human Resource big and bold on the glass top half of the court clerk’s office door.

      • I second that, D.H.H.S is a Cyst growing on our County. And for the Tax Collections; just wait and see the Prop Tax Defaults! What is going to be worth something! Who is going to be worth nonething! Who has the finances? Big Gov? Can they afford to take in Mass Defaults? ?Who’s gonna pay the bills NOW?? I don’t want to win an abandoned pot grow at auction, the County Tax would be too much ! Wait a few years and see the land values Really drop… I can get a nice piece of land in WV for $40,000!

        • Life is an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved. Everybody I know got or gets one day at a time. DHHS is there for those that can’t create it on their own or have been ground down by life. I hope you commenters never have to experience reality. Oh, and haven’t you heard, the birth rate is below the replacement rate, we have fewer people born than those that die. That is effectively the end of civilization as we knew it. Having white folks in control is not going to help. White males currently have a 40% fertility rate. What makes life interesting here in Humboldt County is the vast number of idiots and geniuses mixed together.

          • To synopsize that post- life is not a problem to be solved but DHHS, created by white people who are no help, is there to do just that for those who can’t do it themselves. Reality is failure and those who don’t fail aren’t real. That not breeding enough is the end of civilization, caused by a drop in white men’s fertility despite their status of being no help.

            Yup. Humboldt is certainly a mixture of all sorts.

  • And cash payments will be reported to the IRS………the turmoil begins.

  • Disgusting supervisors

    Yeah definitely time for a whole new batch of trolls to run the rip off county!!! Disgusted to the core of my soul with these theiving scumbags !!!!! Cant wait till carma turns on this scum one by one !!!!!!!

  • General manager of Sequoia Labs is Steven Dutra?! Any chance he is connected to locally-based Dutra Trucking? The place on West End Rd where there was a large illegal indoor grow blessed and ignored by Arcata officials… Because that is the same family that Dennis Hunter is from. The guy who got busted big up on Three Creeks. Who then after release began more huge grow ops down in Santa Rosa…started piling family money into BHO labs all ignored by corrupted or naive city officials and pretending to be “medical for sick people”….and who now owns the largest CBD/THC extract company in CA. It was known he had a testing company set up that was writing off all his product as “clean” before this scam “legalization” got passed by the gullible idiot public. Maybe I am wrong. Or maybe nobody even cares, right? Criminals and officials together feeding at the trough, collecting money from both ends and telling us we are now “safe” and “free” so we should all be happy I guess? Yet here is a clear case of letting sick people smoke pesticides and the company only loses it’s license for a few months?!! Am I the only person disgusted by that lack of a penalty?

    • Name dropping is not a attractive trait. Keep your conspiracies inside you head of you don’t have anything to back them up. I am a dedicated organic farmer, but this story does not enrage me. Everything organic is subject to skepticism, and so is tested weed. They most definitely don’t subject organic food to any kind of testing. Why waste your time being outraged? I wouldn’t expect anything more and I’m sure it’s way worse than this story states.

    • I did notice that hunters absolute extracts were pulled off the shelves of hprc due to testing positive for pesticides

    • Damn i smell cheese is there a rat in here? Watch out callin yourself a deadhead and sharing cups of water… May get ya face stole

      • Ha Ha! Not “ratting out” anything that wasn’t done in clear view and with approval by city officials in two different shady towns. I received information that was freely given as it was fairly commonly known. Just connecting the dots…if indeed this is the same Dutra family? Your response makes me think it is. And again with that “same team” idea…No- we are not the same team. I don’t cover for greedy and corrupt organizations that drive the mom n pops into poverty. And if you do….how does that fit with any hippie or deadhead philosophy? You may have lost the trail, brother, if you are backing up scammed test results for selling tainted product to medical patients to make millions. FYI- The stolen face and “He’s Gone” referred to Lenny Hart- a dishonest man who stole from the band. Now who in this story best represents that kind of a guy?

  • While I can intellectualize that ingesting pesticides in any form may be dangerous, has it been proven that each of the 66 products are on the ‘bad!’ list are in fact detrimental? Proven? Tested (in a way that will demonstrate the effects on human beings)?
    What I believe (and have experienced- Ugh!!) is that all cannabis related state agencies are running amok with regulatory overreach. Is this just one more example?
    I prefer to eat organic. Generally do at home. Yet, I don’t live in a cocoon, nor did I practically, in the first 40+ years of my life, have many organic options. So. Yes. “Bad Inspector!”. And. Let’s not all get all indignant/ self-rightious by a person being motived to move or place less-than-the-highest-quality product ‘on shelves’, like growers have done, with varying degrees of rationalization, for 40 years here.
    Sign me as,
    – (Yet) Uncertain and Untrusting of the Agencies Charged with ‘Protecting’ Us (the Environment, Their Jobs, ;), etc).

  • Lol. Suprise the testing of cannabis is a complete sham. I have purchase “top shelf” tested Cannabis , out of curiosity, only to see powder mold all over it. 🙄 And unless u test every single bud.. ‘batch testing’ is completely useless for microbial content. I mean.. it’s more of a produce item anyway. If you get a batch of strawberries, you might have to keep an eye out for some defective ones now and again. And, it is great they are testing for harmeful pesticides.. but it is super overkill! I mean, you can’t even use hardly any organic OMRI listed products. They say because there has not been properly tested, but that is bull. The tobacco industry is not ‘tested’ in the slightest. The tobacco industries even use ‘radioactive’ fertilizer! They have been using pesticides and fertilizers on tobacoo for a long long time now. They know what is safe and what isn’t. And what they should be testing for..heavy metals, specifically Cadmium, accumulates in the tricolms And is caused by feeding high phosphorus chemical fertilizers, is not tested for.. and that stuff is sooo bad for the health of the rivers. I mean the Idea of testing, sure ideally yes.. but is it practical or affordable? And why are the tobacco companies not held to the same standards then?
    Ridiculous!
    This is not ‘legalization’ this is extreme ‘regulation’. What a scam..

    • Cannabis/marijuana, weed, pot, grass, has always been lawful. They only made it “Legal” for tax theft.

      ~well, and the fact that when heat is applied and smoke inhaled, one is not conducive to mind control – and may, just may, question authority.

  • Who cares grow your own six plants. Done right that will be plenty for a year. Pay no tax except to your local nursery for supplies and enjoy. Tax tax tax, that’s the USA.

  • Wait for someone that smoked that falsified weed to file for damages…..

    That’s really going to be a payout.

  • I’ve been paying property taxes in cash for years and they’ve always had cash counting machines there. This is not news.

    • That wasn’t the news part to me, though I suspect that many people were unaware of it…The news part included things like the rate of payment of taxes dropping (Anyone else worried about what this signals economically? I am.) and the amount of money brought in so far.

      • I have the last seven years of “The County’s” Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs). I’ve said this before and i’ll say it again – they’re drowning in unredeemable paper.

      • More was billed than the previous year, the total received was more too. Just not at the same rate. This could mean that the people now added to the rolls are the ones less willing to pay than those billed the first year or the county added people to be billed improperly so the rate is lower. Or that the potential payers have decided the county won’t do anything serious after all so why pay after being scared about it last year..

        To know whether the percentage of billed to received represents the economy, the per capita tax bill paid needs to be reported. If that shows a drop, it might mean less profit. If it doesn’t, it just means those unwilling to pay anyway have now started being billed. The county still took in more money over all. We’ll have to wait for an analysis or at least more specific data.

        • Yes the state of the economy is a mess with the whole world dumping US bonds the stock market wavering trillions of dollars at a time you think it is bad in Venezuela they used to have a thriving economy almost equal to what we have in the United States and more and more countries are going into the same boat a lot of these countries are blaming it on their government well look at ours 20 trillion dollars unaccounted for in the audit and they say we voted in some of the biggest criminals even in California Dianne Feinstein who’s husband is a big arms dealer and all of the rest of the cronies I don’t believe it the county state and whole wackadoodle of them including the biggest clown of them all are we great yet idiot and I hear that there is a bottleneck in the track and Trace system so that people that have legit can’t sell products unless it goes on to the black market and then they have to say that it went down to mold and had to be destroyed and how could they come up with taxes when they made no money this will probably be going on for years they might be soon to have some pretty good markets in the oil industry though there is Giant extraction companies going in all over Humboldt County thanks Kim you rock

  • “He who tells you , you are free, is your enemy!” The WHOLE weed legalization is a scam…. wake up people. It was never in your favor….. grower,buyer,smoker,or distributer. Only the government, local and state are making the money. Ingenious plan inspired by greed and fear that everyone fell for. Fish on!

  • I’ve been hearing for months now that the county was going to go after all the people with really high pge bills. And just yesterday I heard they have already shut down dozens of people by sending out letters.

    I just wanted to get the word out in case people were thinking about lighting up their sheds, it might be a bad investment. Have you heard anything about that kym?

  • …”For the record, …cash counting machines,… test for counterfeit bills and
    *** log serial numbers.***…”

    Now why do you think the county might LOG SERIAL NUMBERS of the cash received?

    (Planting tracked bill$ with black market buyers …?)

  • It’s time for a Humboldt Bay Tea Party every one at once will go to Humboldt Bay by the court house and dump all there cannabis in the water in protest of excessive cannabis farm taxes this will go down in history for ever.

  • I predict the ordinary taxpayers will subsidize the pot industry since state and county revenues from it will never cover the costs of law enforcement and compliance agencies.

  • Think I’ll do the BIGGEST HIT EVER!

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