‘Small Is Beautiful, Especially Small Taxes on Small Farmers’: Demonstration Planned by Cannabis Growers in Supes Chamber Next Tuesday
They’ve issued the following press release:
If the goal for cannabis compliance is to eliminate environmental degradation, reduce the black-market sales of cannabis and bring existing farmers into the fold; many things that Humboldt County, and the State of California, are doing are having exactly the opposite effect on small farmers.
Typically, when new business ventures are presented to a county or municipality with their tax revenue, new jobs and economic growth, local governmental authorities give these companies tax credits, fee waivers and financial incentives to attract their businesses to the area. What the County is currently doing is exactly the opposite: High application fees and taxes up front, significant engineering and compliance costs, and unrealistic regulations are driving the compliance seekers back under the trees, back into their diesel consuming indoor grows and out of the process toward a governable industry. We urgently encourage the County to consider incentive programs to encourage small farmers to move forward in this process. Currently, government agencies are only using a big stick and beating the small, willing and compliant permit seekers back out of the system.
An example of an incentive system at work is currently evident with United Airlines expanding in Humboldt County because they are being given tax breaks, incentives and encouragement to do business. The Board of Supervisors and local leaders have given United reduced docking fees and assurances of full and profitable planes. These are carrots to encourage new business. The County should take a similar approach with the small cannabis farmers seeking to join the regulated market.
We recognize the complexity and fluidity of the process and the fact that the County is getting a lot of pressure from other agencies and environmental groups to slow environmental degradation, reduce the black market, monitor water use, and save the fish and amphibians. We appreciate the County’s hard work moving this process forward and believe that small compliant farms can be the County’s ally in this effort. Small compliant farmers are willing to pay reasonable fees for entry into the cannabis market and strive to make our farms as environmentally friendly as possible. However, the current heavy-handed taxes and fees, coupled with ballooning compliance costs and an ever-lowering market value for the cannabis that we produce are seriously imperiling the future viability of our farms. We believe that the extreme up-front taxes represent a short-sighted vision, and the County should look at the potential medium- to long-term economic benefits including sales and employment tax revenue resulting from a healthy legal cannabis economy built on small farms.
The Salmon Creek Association of Small Farmers hopes that the County will consider the following request:
- Repeal the 2017 taxes on Interim Permits. The levying of 2017 taxes appears deceptive, did not provide any additional benefit to those farmers that were taxed, and unfairly penalizes the earliest and most willing permittees.
- Reduced taxes on 2018 Interim Permits. These permits provide minimal certainty to the small farmer and therefore should not be taxed at the full amount.
- Consider developing a system for rebates or deferred tax payment plans targeting small growers that is exactly the opposite of the payment plan sent out with the 2017 tax bills – “pay in full by February 28, 2018 or get fined an additional 25%”. That is not a way to build trust in a new government program or foster new economic growth.
Find a mechanism to cost-effectively leverage enforcement of the ~8,000 non-applicants without relying on small farmers taxes.
- Work to streamline the compliance process for those small farms where environmental degradation is NOT occurring.
Small is Beautiful, Especially Small Taxes on Small Farmers.
Signed by The Salmon Creek Farm Association of small, outdoor, farmers looking for carrots, not sticks:
Huckleberry Woods, Hope Springs Farms, Cherry Valley Farms, Fire Robin Farms, Bamboo Farms, All in The Roots Farm, Grindstone Ridge Gardens and others. For further information write to firstname.lastname@example.org. The time of the demonstration will be announced later.