Frustration and Fear: Local Cannabis Farmers Ask for Help, Claim Measure S Could Put Them Out of Business and Deprive County of Their Tax Revenue

mariuana meeting Board of Supervisors Humboldt

Standing room only at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor meeting.

Yesterday morning, a standing room only crowd packed the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting as multiple speakers from the cannabis farmer community used the public comment period to express frustration and fear. In particular, most addressed Measure S, a county tax on marijuana grows. (Those wishing to view the meeting can go here. The actual comments period begins about minute 39.) Afterwards, a number of the farmers spoke to reporters in front of the Courthouse.

Many of the those speaking both in the meeting and out said they are struggling to move into the legal world and comply with what they perceive as an onerous and confusing process–one that several farmers, at least one with a longstanding store, told us later was much more onerous and confusing than most businesses face.

Although almost all the farmers expressed frustration at the burden Measure S as implemented by the County imposed on them, most didn’t ask to have it abolished but rather they had a number of suggestions for amendments or simply pled for help from the Board saying that putting farmers out of business was bad for County economically. Sequoia Hudson, a farmer who also works at a cannabis business, stated in the meeting, “I speak to a lot of farmers. Not one has ever said they didn’t want to pay taxes.” However, she said, the taxes pushed by Measure S were more than was reasonable and, more importantly, they could push cannabis growers out of the business. This, she argued, could harm the county as a whole.  “If they have gone broke,” she said, “they won’t be able to pay [taxes.]”

Nicole Keenan, a Southern Humboldt farmer, was in tears as she argued, “We’re all working so hard to be part of this community and you are killing us.”

A lecturer in Anthropology, Fred Krissman, who is studying the marijuana farmers and writing a book about the Emerald County growers, told the Board that of the 30 case studies many are worried about going broke. He explained,

[The growers] are not being able to make ends meet…If Humboldt County doesn’t want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs that produces at least a third and probably a lot more of the total private sector revenues for this county, now is the time…to think of a way to work with small family farmers so they can stay on the land and continue being productive even as they go through the legalization process… If we don’t do that, we are going to have an explosion in the black market [and] a renewed drug war.”

Charlotte Silverstein, a small business owner for 33 years in Southern Humboldt, said that even those not in the cannabis industry were suffering. “It’s dead in Garberville,” she said adding that other store owners were telling her that business was down “30% to 60%.” She scoffed, “Whoever thought of taxing something before it was grown.”

The farmers also described a process that had goalposts that kept changing. One man described how he and his family searched for a piece of property that met all the conditions for a legal cannabis grow last year including the garden being at least 600 feet from any school bus stop. They sunk their life’s savings into purchasing it, entering into the permit process, and then having Fortuna School District situate a bus stop close enough to their garden during the nearly year-long permit process so that their property was no longer eligible to be a legal grow.

Other farmers pointed out the tax actually encouraged non-environmental practices. Dan Gribi, previously the Salmon Creek Volunteer Fire Chief for 29 years, said his cannabis garden included old fruit trees and he was required to include them in his taxable square footage which meant that the County was disincentivizing growing a non-mono crop.

Furthermore, many of the farmers were furious at what Reuben Childs, a Southern Humboldt grower, called “shady moves” by the County when a letter was sent out in December that he and others felt tricked cultivators into signing an interim permit at the end of 2017 that made them liable for the entire 2017 tax when other farmers who simply waited until after January 1 to sign the permit were not liable.

Mark Switzer, who says he has several business licenses in Humboldt County said, “I feel this was a very misleading letter.” He quoted it as saying, “…[T]o enable the department to start licensing procedures, sign this letter before January 1.” Many farmers thought that if they didn’t sign the letter they were harming their chances to get a permit which was not the case, he said.

After the meeting, many farmers pointed out that the tax was hitting particularly hard at an industry that they said was staggering under the double whammy of precipitous price drops and coming into compliance with rules and conditions that change even as they wait for applications to be approved.

Several told us that they had voted for the tax but hadn’t expected that the tax would be applied even on years they didn’t grow. One farmer told us that though their property hadn’t had cannabis cultivated on it for several years, when they rushed to comply with what they told us they felt was a deceptively worded letter from the County, they ended up being billed over $30,000 in taxes for 2017. “What happens if someone gets sick and can’t grow?” another asked. “Then they have to pay a bunch of money when they are too sick to earn any?”

Because Measure S and the farmers’ concerns weren’t on the agenda, the Board could not address the issues at the meeting.




  • well folks it looks like it’s time to get a real job….

    • Humboldt Hillsman

      Real job? Cannabis growers probably work harder than you ever have.

    • With good plant genetics, any knucklehead with 1/2 a brain can grow good weed. Hundreds of pounds of it. Without any risk now as well. As more newcomers rush into this it will just get worse. You will soon be competing with giant central valley operations that grow thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds. Sell your land now before it loses 75% of its value. Why not cut back on the Cancun vacations and high lift Toyotas. Save a ittle $$ for a rainy day. Lose the big ego. And learn a new skill for a different career. Maybe will start low down on the totem pole but you can work your way up with hard work and dedication.

      • You obviously have no experience growing……there’s many things that can devastate an entire crop. Powder mold, sludge mold, spider mites, russet mites, broad mites, systemic diesease that duds plants, herming, any electronic failure with fans frying/molding a whole crop, workers forgetting to do simple things, weather, I could go on……especially if you’re a true organic farmer keeping pest at bay is NOT easy……l’d love to see you try and fail like most with your attitude. It’s actually a lot of work and you need a strict ipm or you’re gonna get fucked. Even then you can get fucked. So if it’s so easy you should be driving grave digger around and scuba diving with penguins lol

        • “You should be driving grave digger and scuba diving with penguins”😂😂😂

          Probably by far the best piece of advice and funniest I’ve heard on this site”

          Thank you for making this boy smile

      • Spoken like someone who has no idea of the subject matter.

    • Berkley cut it tax 50% to keep businesses around.

  • Let’s see… a 50 year history of not paying taxes and now no one ever said they didn’t want to pay taxes? ROFL She must have avoided talking to anyone here where lots have said they intend to keep on not paying.

    Anyway she ought to talk to someone trying to build a new subdivision about costs even before they start. I know someone who spent $10,000 meeting all the city’s requirements to subdivide a city lot.

    • The tax is unfair.
      The County issued “intern-permits”, witch are fake. Not real permits. They are just something they can claim to act like you were permitted that year thus triggering the taxation. If farmers were forced to pay that tax because they turned in there application on time, then this is penalizing the most compliant growers. Meanwhile growers who forgot to turn there application in on time somehow are off the hook. How is this fair?

      If you are forcing intern permit holders to pay the 2017 cultivation tax for turning in there paperwork on time they should also make the people who turned it in late pay aswell.

      The county was purposely unclear about this tax. They did not tell people about the details. They also did not tell you that the tax would be triggered by signing the intern permit agreement.

      In the past the county explained that the tax would come in 2 parts, just like your property tax that could be paid each 6 months.

      This tax was sent out telling people to pay there full amount upfront within 3 weeks or else start facing a 25% interest charge. This entire years worth of tax was due all at once.

      This was very deceptive and is incredible hard to come up with immediately while the markets are transitioning and legal sales cannot be made now until you get a state license, witch it helps if you have a county permit first!

    • lets double taxe your ass and see how u feel

      • Good grower thinking 101:

        “Well, if we can’t just do whatever we want, like we used to, the whole county will just cease to exist, because, it just will. Why should WE have to pay taxes on our crops and income like any other farmer? Why should WE have to obey ANY laws? Hell, We’re from Humboldt, stop screwing us over!”

        Loving it!

        • You missed the point, this is not taxed like any other ag crop. I believe this was mentioned several times in the article and other relevant write ups on the subject matter.

  • unbridled phillistine

    You all wanted legal weed. Well? Careful what you wish for! Sorry Gov involved its all down hill from here.

  • The county has gone about this in the most idiotic way possible, especially when compared to every other county in the state. I feel sorry for the fools that are trying to go legit and work for the man.

    But I have no sympathy for people crying about now paying taxes after decades of large illegal incomes.

    And Garberville businesses arent hurting because of the new county taxes, they are hurting because illegal prices are disappearing and legal prices are driving everything down.

    Remember, the majority of Garberville store owners are growers, and those stores have been fronts for their illegal grows. This is the same everywhere else in the county, not just Garberville – store fronts, apple orchards, construction companies, dairy farms, etc.

    I wish this much support was also put forth to other things in the county, such as roads, shelters, etc. But shows where peoples priorities are.

    • if most of the shops are fronts for growers , then those growers were or paying taxes, come on you cant have it both ways. fact is in order to spend the money earned on the black market it has to cleaned , often at a percentage but always with taxes being paid on it. then there is the sales taxes which lets face it if 40 percent of sales dissapear then so will 40 percent of sales taxes , which will male current budget projections bounce. law enforcement , roads trails parks schools every budget that recives county funds from a sales tax will suffer . use your head and stop.being vindictive.

      • bankrupt on selling

        If the stores are fronts and growers aren’t making money from growing, then are sales really down?

        I don’t see Dazey’s slowing down any – they are out building some giant building at Dean Creek. I haven’t heard of the hotels, credit union, gas stations or grocery stores sales that have dropped. I have friends and family that work at all of those places and nothing has changed as drastically as described in this article.

        • I know right? First they said business was down 10%; then that figure went up to 10- 20%. Then someone Claimed business is down 30-40%. Now , some of the speakers at the meeting jacked that number up even more and now the narrative is , business is down 60%.
          Maybe if you were that bookstore that nobody went to because no one buys books anymore.
          My family friend works in garberville at a long time business and she said , it’s true business is down there about 10-15%. But she said all business are down during the winter months because many people are gone to Mexico or Hawaii or Thailand for the winter.

          • If Garberville went out of business in the forest, would it make a sound?

            If it did, you wouldn’t be able to hear it over the WHINING!

            • We arrived here poor, living on food commodities, Food Stamps, and community sharing. We survived a coordinated military effort by Federal, State, and County Law Enforcement (C.A.M.P) to eradicate this industry and our life style from this county. They lost, and people like you lost, and will continue to loose if you keep underestimating this community. So pucker up. Nobody’s going anywhere.

  • Is this the same concept they used against the tree owners? Tax the harvestable trees every year regardless if harvested, then tax them good when harvested, plus fine them hard if not harvested and thinned against fire hazards, then fined harder than harder if not harvested persnackitackily according to new rules thought up every week?

    As much as I love me some poetic justice, I hope these fighters win their fight against forced government dependence. No work, no jobs, equals food stamps and more government dependence.

    Fight fight fight

  • The ONLY thing the “Board of STUPIDvisors” sees is Dollar signs!!!! They want as much as they possibly can (Quasi) legally get their hands on!!!! Preferably for themselves & to Hell with anything for the County!!! That as always is my $.02 worth YMMV!!!

    • Agreed!!!

      The only people I can see making it through this mess are the ones that can keep cost down. With how prices are the over head of a large farm just doesn’t work out. The people I’ve noticed that are doing ok are the ones that don’t want to make millions. They just want to make a living. Smallish indoor where costs are low and you have 2 months to move your product is doable. Yet some of them are struggling too. They based this system on the high black market prices people used to get but its just not there anymore…..that’s why it’s putting people out of business. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was their plan all along though. Get as much money they can from the big ballers till it’s all done for…..sadly it seems like it’s working.


  • “There killing us!” Im daaahh. That was the plan all along. Wake up! Deplete then of whatever money they have left with bugis “permitting “ then tax the shit out of them till they disappear. Sorry. It’s a win/win for them. The thing is…..everybody fell into the trap. Greed,powered by fear.

  • I suggested 4 things the Supervisors could do to help farmers
    1. Repeal Measure S (the square footage tax)
    2. Drop county Track and Trace – since the state has a system and both cost money
    3. Give all present applicants interim permits so they can get into the state system and sell something.
    4. Remove all parts of the upcoming new ordinance that place a burden on people who have already applied. Especially the road upgrades.

    Estelle spoke after the testimonies were over, and said that they had decided to issue interim permits to everyone. That’s great, and I’m glad they were thinking of ways to help – but notice that of my four suggestions, only one increased income to the county, and that’s the one they had decided to do – interim permits = taxes. If Measure S is not repealed or brought back to its original wording, those taxes are going to be charged to people who are not growing and who would not owe the taxes under the original wording.

    • More permits lmao

    • Ed Denson is right!

      The county track and trace system is a total fraud!

      I have been contacted by them they want 400$ for a training session!
      Then they want to force enroll me in a track and trace computer program that costs me 90$ a month
      Then i need to buy stamps they dont seem very expensive but are still an associated cost plus shipping.
      Keep in mind that it is february and i will not even be using this system till October.
      They want to force enroll early permiters. Once again they are punishing the most compliant first and using us are a source of income.

      I could be wrong but the way i see what happened was SICPA saw the market opportunity in creating the cannabis track and trace system for the state. They set out to have a pilot program in Humboldt county. The state later adopted a different company’s program.

      What this means is that SICPA’s work was a waste of time for them.
      However they are choosing to implement the system for no good reason.
      The SICPA system does not work with the state track and trace system, it functions under different rules and required different training and a separate subscription for track and trace.

      This is a perfect example of wasteful redundant bureaucracy that needs to be eliminated.

      We the people of Humboldt county are secretly bailing out some software company that was betting to make it big on legal weed and is holding on to a failed program.

      My thoughts are they know this and the program will be gone in a year or two because it makes no sense, however in the mean time they want to get enough growers signed up and paying fees to repay they for there losses on there expenses.

      Total SCAM.

    • Gee Ed, I think the point of the laws would be to finally get the county some money to fund enforcement, to fix the roads the grow-dozers destroyed, and to mitigate the 30,000 out-of-control grow-crazies who are destroying the environment.

      Legalization ultimately is the State’s response to being unable to afford to do anything at all about the drug crime that exists all over Northern California. The local growers only think about themselves, and not about the social cost of keeping drugs illegal.

      When the forces of competition put 70% out of the vocation of drug-dealing and production, perhaps we can get back to the business of normal life on the North Coast.

      We have to start somewhere. If it makes things too tough for you, adapt or move on. The end. Whining will not help.

      Best of luck in your future endeavors, and welcome to the future you helped to create!

  • Outside looking in

    What is not being mentioned here is the overall revenue that is coming into the counties involved. Lets be real…this is the first stage of prohibition. Tax it to see what they can get, then have big companies come in to produce it. Why do you think RJ Reynolds has bought 1000’s and 1000’s of acres here, in Trinity and Medo counties??? Because they can afford the overhead, and will eventually squeeze out the original farmers. Whether you all want it or not, marijuana is here to stay, just like tobacco and alcohol.
    I think CA should look at Washington, Oregon and Colorado. The states are getting a ton of money. In fact, Washington just told the Federal Gov. they would not impose certain taxes because that industry is whats funding the state patrol, special programs in education and a bunch of other things the state couldn’t maintain without it.

  • Since less than 10% of growers applied for permitting I would look elsewhere for the excuse of why Stores are hurting in town. Oversatuturation and supply way out pacing demand is why the price is so low and with that brings less money for Mexico vacations.

    Personally the complaing of how much it cost to comply is hilarious. Ask a new restaurantier what they had to pay to open a their new business. If you want to have a legal business of any kind there are rules and regulations that need to be followed. Get used to it, that’s not changing.

    Although I whole heartadly agree that the planning commission Hosed the farmers and some are probably on the take for some interest or another. It’s called the cost of doing business and every legal one has to.

    My favorite part tho are the people tht claim they have been paying taxes all these years. Like they handed over 20-30% each year.

    Last but not least, blaming the failure of the Mateel on the cost of permitting is just plain silly. It’s called “mismanagement” look it up it what will cause 80% of all new farms to fail in this state. People could have been making 10K a # the last 5 years and they still wouldn’t have forked over for that crap line up they tried to serve up while raising prices.

    But it’s not fair!!!!!! Lololololololol

    • Bingo, Someone give this man a prize. Truth hurts, and for some, it’s a mirror talk they needed. Time to pay STATE and FEDERAL taxes on things the rest of civilized communities do. If you made tons of $$ in the past and did not save it up for a rainy day, then you do not know how to manage a budget or a business. You are sole to blame. Take 100% ownership of your failure. Well responsible businesses, have $ set aside to deal with an unforeseen hit. If you were making a net profit of 15-20K a year for the past five years, then this hit is just doing business and a part of the machine we (others who did not partake in a black market industry)all had to deal with. Hope those Costa Rica trips and full price payments on items was worth it. Food for thought, your whining is not helping at all, its borderline laughable.

    • Josh, why is it “the cost of doing business”? Ask yourself how many new restaurants there would be with out all this regulation. How many new businesses of all kinds would spring up if they didn’t have to spend time, energy, and money on these permits. If you look at the pot business, you’ll find your answer. Despite the somewhat potentially heavy cost of felony prosecutions, thousands of new businesses started up in Humboldt County over the past couple of decades. In the first year of permitting, a substantial number are quitting business. It’s enough to make one become a Libertarian so we can really grow the economy through small scale businesses rather than turning it all over to the big guys.

      I’m inclined to agree with you about the Mateel, and there is something to your point that the percentage of growers who signed up (I would say 20% rather than your 10% but the point is the same) does not explain the drastic fall off in Sohum main street businesses and charitable donations.It could be that the black market is in trouble too, and that this economic crisis has been growing unseen for a couple of years.

      • You ask, here it is. The cost to open a restaurant- For checking the lists of permits, certification, inspections, insurances, etc

      • Ed,
        This area is unique to the fact that is has a large number of illegally built roads and homes. Probably more than any other place in the country. For in other rural areas there is by no means as much money to spend on structures or punching roads in on owner carried land. That being said just because you want to go “legit” does not mean you should be void the same cost a legitimate farm say in Modesto has to put up to develope a new plot.
        It is a shame how much it cost to start up a new business but a lot of the regulations are put in place to protect not only us the consumer but, the employees as well.

        It’s some sad times for sure and yes the county is squeezing the pennies out of people. But this is California and it’s full of regulation that many business owners feel is not “fair” hence why many corporations leave the state. I wish the best to the ones that can prosper but truly feel the ones on the fringe should look to other ways to survive in the future. It’s time to adapt!

        • But what do you need to worry Sweet & Sour? You already rolled on 5 & paid off your Hash bust & then kept some buried & have supervisors in your pocket. Now here you are with your clean undies telling folks how it is. You want a gold star or something? Do you need acknowledgement you did better than others? Did someone not pay you enough attention a long time ago & here ya are, look at me, look at me, I’m a good boy! 😂
          I’m usually not one to knock another’s accomplishment but to turn around and always be pulling out I did better than u card is tacky, conceded & ugly.
          You can put lipstick on a *** but it’s still a ……?

      • Sorry Ed but you are wrong about the Mateel. While ROTR may have been mismanaged the county played a big part of it. People have said it was stupid of the Mateel to start the show on Thursday but that was forced on them by the County! They didn’t want any traffic so made them open a day earlier at a costly price. Every year it was something else. For 2017 they demanded a handicap ramp to the stage. NO other venue in Humboldt Co has a ramp to their stage. There were already 2 ramps to the stage but the county said they were too steep which was a joke as the handicap ramp to the County Courthouse is steeper than the ones at ROTR!! But to comply the Mateel had to rent risers etc to lower the ramp. And through out all the years of ROTR only one person was ever on stage in a wheelchair until 2016 when an African bands had 2 members in wheelchairs. And they were so happy with the ramps that were there. But the county insisted on a new ramp for 2017.

  • What other businesses anywhere have to pay a yearly $1-$3 per sq/ft tax to do business? This is absurd. Please any business owner in this forum, please explain how a $3 a sq/ft (indoor area) per year fee for your business license as a price of doing business would affect your ability to survive as a business? Please any business owner. Sun Valley who is right on the Trinity River and uses pesticides and fungicides would pack up and leave Humboldt in a second if they had to pay $1 per sq/ft (outdoor area)as a cost of doing business in Humboldt, to grow their agricultural products. Wine vineyards pumping myclobutanil into the water table do not have a $1 per sq/ft cost of doing business. The argument that people have not paid taxes is not a reasonable argument bc it is based on each individual (you do not know who has paid or not paid taxes). I guarantee all the business owners that are paid in cash by growers do not report all of their income, therefore they should have to pay $1-$3 per sq/ft tax as a price of doing business in Humboldt, by this logic. If the cannabis industry does not survive in Humboldt the quality of life we are all living is going to suffer, even more crime, drug use, homelessness and suffering. Your homes will be worth less and you will have less choices for shopping and eating out. I understand why people that aren’t in the industry do not like growers, but the growers that you don’t like are just bad people, they will still be bad human beings when they don’t grow. Don’t blame good people that happen to be growers because you disagree with growing. The fishing industry is gone, the timber industry is gone. Marijuana will rebound in a year or two with hopefully some of the good people still here to be a part of our community and the regulated industry. It’s common sense to incentivize an industry that can create 100’s if not 1,000’s of living wage jobs, not fee and tax it out of existence.

    • Problem is, it’s much easier to set up and distribute from more easily accessible places in this state. As well as properly permitted Ag land that doesn’t have 8 unpermitted structures that need to be delt with. Like the industries before that have left and gone away this one is just next on the list. My advice- sell now!

      • This is not true, the cost of farm land and limited amount of permits (Monterrey county) in places south of here plus the outright bans in certain county’s are proving that Humboldt is where this new industry will be based.

        There is already 150 approved state permits in Humboldt County, We are the leaders for the state in permitted farms. Also un permitted structures are not a problem. The county has said they only care about buildings that are being used for cultivation related uses.

        Also if you need to permit a AG building it is a very easy process and can qualify for Ag-exemption. That means you only need to have your electrical, gas lines, plumbing inspected. As long as it passes you can have the building and the permit fees are less than 600 dollars.

        The farmers in commercial greenhouses in central coast are failing there pesticide tests, these greenhouses are polluted with past pesticide use and cannot make good cannabis.

        We already have the experts, the setup and the paid off properties here in the triangle.

        Other communities do not want to experiment with letting in a green rush of growers where they live.

        Most places dont want to end up like Humboldt County!

        • Doesn’t take many farms to out produce what the state can consume. It’s one thing that the county has screwed people over but let’s not overlook the reality that a product that cannot be exported does no need everyone in the game.

  • Po ick ur battles

    Shoulda planted some food. So sorry y’all won’t make triple digits anymore.. welcome to reality. The truth is, it only hurts the smallest of the small when it comes to pot farmers. But real farmers don’t buy dirt. I’ll bet three of the farmers there don’t buy lots if dirt and nutes. Gimme a friggin break and cry me the south fork. Plus. Now some of the ghetto kids and college kids moving all yet bud out east can come up the same as us! Win win for the small timers that isn’t chasing millions. By small time I mean 20 plants. Anything g bigger and you ain’t small time. Period.

    • If you can grow 400 lbs on your average 10,000 sqft grow and sell at 500$ a lb that is 200,000$ Even after taxs, fees, etc your still making 6 figures as a farm owner.

      • Why are you complaining then ?

      • Of course, if you have been like me…mom no pop….growing 10-15 lbs a year and eking out a living, you are now reduced to poverty.

      • CommonSense_not_Whining

        Seriously! That’s plenty of money to pay for road upgrades to not silt in the streams that taxpayers have payed millions to rehab!

      • The taxes, harvesting, trimming, packaging, testing, track and trace add up to approximately $500 per pound. And that is all after the planting and growing part, which is expensive too. So, where is the legal price going to be next year? A lot of people are nervous.

        • The planting and growing isn’t expensive if you actually know farming. Pot growing yes is expensive. Ganja farming. Well rotted Shit dirt and water. A lil molasses and bone meal and teas. Only purchases are molasses. 200 dollars for 70 lbs?

  • You folks must be dumb as mud if you didn’t guess that legalization = taxation. Do you think it was going to be a free for all? Now that you’re permitted and a giant red flag, good luck going back to the black market.

  • And the academy goes to

    When a woman named Nicole Keenan spoke, jeez, she was hysterically shrill and by the end practically in tears yelling “ YOURE FRIGGIN KILLING US! But then she followed that with “ I have 3 parcels and I might have to sell one!
    Her performance was Academy Award 🥇 winning really…..until she said….”I have 3 parcels, I might have to sell one.” Good Gawd. Wtf poor poor Nicole, might have to sell one of her parcels”….
    And then there was the guy Harold , who said he and his wife after working 30 years are retirees from the school Corp. (read- pension) AND he inherited his neighbors property ( read- free money) and seemed to want some kind of badge of honor for only selling it for 100grand instead of to the Bulgarians for much more.
    Then he screemed “ i’ve never been so close to losing everything“ wow. Really? Don’t think so.

  • Too bad the doom and gloom speakers didn’t stick around to witness the 2 different Humboldt Cannabis business get unanimous board of Supervisors approval for their business’.
    They might have learned the key to how these small business’ were able to get all the way through the process and be successful. Hard work, informing themselves and knowing how to work with people.

  • This wasn’t about avoiding taxes or not having forsight. This was about an unethical last minute likely illegal effort by the supes to milk money from growers before the end of the year. This was about a market that lost 60% of its value in a year and doesn’t look like it’s going to bounce back. This was about neighbors leaving, communities losing valued people, an economic downturn that will benefit the few and ultimately hurt the many living in this county and state, specifically the lower middle class and poor. In the end it is concentration of wealth as usual and instead of slowing the bleeding the supes have only made it worse. The taxes were based on a value that is not sustainable. Unless production is curtailed and scarcity created value will decrease. Point of sale needs to be used or some tax method that reacts to the market value. Otherwise only businesses that can afford to wait out their competitors and lose money for a few years will survive. Maybe that’s what the plan is, the corporate Wal-Mart model, lobby government, change the rules after you corner the market, then raise prices. Humboldt only has it’s name and history when it comes to value in the mj industry, yet it’s a vital part of our local economy. We can’t compete with the size and location of other parts of the state. Keeping production down and quality standards up should be the focus of the county, lots of farms small and diverse. Keeping our counties name synonymous with the best herb in the world should be the top priority of our supervisors. Small batch hand crafted with a deep cultural and genetic heritage of cannabis. If we can keep value here hopefully our economy can survive.

  • County supes cannot look back at what growers made over the past years illegally, and now penalize them with unreasonable terms. This harshly penalizes the new growers who are just starting out and have done nothing wrong, but try and comply. There is not another product produced in the US that has a tax based on ‘what you should, or can, grow’. All ‘product’ tax is based on the sales of a physical product. Could you imaging the Napa Valley wineries being taxed on the acres they ‘can’ grow grapes on, but only utilize 1/2 of it for a year or two?? They would be out of business in no time. This county is so greedy, just like our prices of fuel for many, many years. At times we have been the highest in the continental US.

  • Life is good, when your in it for the love. Money will come money will go. There’s plenty of ways to earn a living if you are determined, creative and positive. Follow and pursue your passions in life, think of the others around you and your impact. There is a real ugly side to the industry. Alot of people doing mass environmental damage, using incredibly unsustainable practices, and not showing compassion for their fellow man or themselves. Let’s face it the weak are getting weeded out. So many people with tons of disposable income who thought it would never end and instead of investing their profits they blew it on fancy vacations and a bunch of shit that depreciated in value. If they signed up for the permitting process I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have 500k put aside from that process. The fact is that alot of these people didn’t do their research and their businesses were built around high market prices and they never took the time to care enough to learn how to do simple sustainable practices. Pick up some literature on soil science or microbiology. Re amend your soil! Make some compost tea! Stop buying every product the grow shops want to sell you. Inform yourselves. Stop buying new soil every year! Come on!!! It’s not rocket science. Save your money f@ck I understand the need for a truck, if you use it for work but there is no need for 10k dollar lift kits and tricked out grow dozer. Honestly it’s become a fashion or a statement. Why not invest your money into things that will go up in value? Why not make smart informed decisions. Why not take responsibility! Stop playing the victim you had your chance most of you that applied for permits are just pissed cause you are not filling pickle barrels with cash anymore. For real, get real! If you are growing cannabis because it’s a passion and you love it and want to craft the best product you can then shut up stop playing the victim and do what you do best and have a positive attitude and be happy. If you are just someone (from in state or from out of state) and are just in it for the money then f@ck you.

    • The argument is that the legal crowd of people that are trying there hardest to get permits are getting taken advantage of and treated as if they were a different crowd of people. I understand the outrage at illegal grows but lets please stop taking out that anger on the folks trying to get permits now. They don’t deserve to be treated badly, these are the good farmers coming into compliance and people are treating them like no good outlaws. We would of been paying tax’s and of been regulated the whole time! but there was no laws so we followed the existing laws that were very loose, thats not our fault, we followed all the rules.

      • I think you are living in a fantasy. The people trying to get permitted, from what I’ve seen, are either 1) clueless newcomers who will do whatever they can to keep up with the newest craze 2) people afraid of getting busted 3) idealistic nice people who didn’t run the numbers or pay attention to the details. .. or some combination of the above.
        Most people in my area(willow creek) have abandoned the permitting process and are not growing anything this year.
        The fact is, the numbers don’t work. Despite what you are saying, when you factor in all the costs and taxes and what you can be expected to harvest, using conservative numbers, there is very little or no profit. I am an accountant and I know how to run projections.
        Maybe in ten years time the system will come into balance and it may become a profitable enterprise, but not anytime soon, with these clowns running the county.

        • Exactly, I agree thank you. I would also like to add that the black market is still profitable. But everything you said is correct. People were basing their projections around the price per pound staying where it was the previous years, they didn’t factor in market saturation and also how the general climate of production would change here in CA. Now because of legalization of production in CA, it’s the biggest cash crop in the biggest agricultural state in the country. Now I do believe that the people growing the better products the craft or artisinal products using efficient low cost methods do have a future. People that are passionate and blend love, art, and science to create outstanding flower will have a place. $500 is the going rate for really worky low qaulity cannabis. So if you are complaining about only getting $500 then do better. 700-800 for the higher qaulity cannabis and indoor 13-19 depending on how mass produced or well it’s done. Those numbers are not bad. Who knows where the market is heading but one thing I know is the black market isn’t going anywhere just yet. The height of illegal liquor sales in the United States was during the 20 year period after they ended prohibition in 1933. Mainly because of taxes levied on alcohol. I also feel that you brought up a good point when you said that one of the stereotypes of people you witnessed signing up for the permitting process were people afraid of getting busted. This was definitely something that was happening, hence the “be a green dot” advertisements on lost coast and here I believe. Emerald Family Farms promoted it alot aswell, they were actively holding compliance workshops and what not. What a scam. I don’t believe in the permitting process I think it’s a mess and untill it’s federally legal it’s not legal, and hopefully the county will get sued, because the whole thing is obviously a racket and only a few select people benefited.

      • Farmers grow crops which are legally marketable, and follow State, Federal, and County Law. They pay taxes on their income, hire labor according to Labor Law, comply with environmental law, and, pay tax on everything they buy, from fuel to vehicles.

        Having a business means competition, licensure, taxes, and participation in the regular economy. If you think that the size of your operation should matter when regulations come in, well, it just does not.

        We need growers who can produce a clean crop without degrading the environment, according to standards and law. If you can’t do this and make money, then do something else to support yourself!

        This is the world you live in, so don’t ask for “special” treatment. Everyone else has to make a living, and the job of the County is to attempt to control what goes on in the County.

        The nature of survival and competition is to weed out the un-competitive, and favor the successful. Not everyone will be able to be a Cannabis producer!

        Good luck in the future, and if you don’t like the government, run for the office and change something!

        • Your first paragraph is filled with inaccuracies. All those things SHOULD be true, but are not. If farmers DID all those things it would be great and no undocumented laborers would be hired & no enviornmental fines would ever be levied.

      • the legal crowd have ostracized themselves since day one by staying clique-y and turning their nose up at those who could not afford to dive in head first

  • legalization = regulation= taxation.
    It is sad to see the devolution that has happened to the Happy Humboldt Hippy brand of weed we grew here for decades. (for the record I personally did not grow but am not blind to many of the benefits) . I agree that the path the Supervisors and Planning Commission have taken has not helped.
    Lets be fair though. The Greed Weeders necessitated a reaction to the impacts they have caused and as a result are taking down the whole industry. The taxes and regulations are a necessary part of the response to the shit storm even as it can be easily argued they are excessive.
    As sad as it may be we should start carving the epitaph on the grave stone of the Happy Humboldt Hippy.

    • Exactly, and those above who thought that the taxes wouldn’t be outrageous are living in a fantasy world. Funny thing is the cole memo is gone and it looks like the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment will most likely not be added into the congressional budget so a federal crack down could be in the forecast as everybody who signed up for county and state permits admitted on paper they are producing a federally controlled substance. If I admit on a legal document that I am committing a federal offence say embezzling money for instance, it would be real easy to convict me in federal court.

  • The transition to being legal was easy and with hard work I still fill pickle barrels to the top, just a matter of being able to adapt and work hard , life is good, time for another extravagant vacation with the whole family,lazy river at the Atlantis is the bomb

  • It’s time someone starts paying for all the negative impacts from this industry. The responsible growers might survive if they cut back on the vacations, Toyota trucks and live the life of most farmers in America

    • If a person calculates even a $5000/yr vacation, times the last 25-30 years, that’s $125-150,000 that could’ve been invested for the future. A $35,000 house in 1975 is now worth about 10x that amount. Grow food! Strip the pot stalks and make useful items-baskets, hats, mats…think up new uses! Watch the documentary, Billion Dollar Crop, created years ago by Bullfrog Films. Re-educate yourself to a new world. Stop over consuming, for heaven’s sake. Simple shelter, simple food…slow it down.

    • I suppose one thing to look at is the root cause of any thing that gets out of balance. Netflix series on dirty money, and specifically the episode on the proliferation of cash advance /payday loan businesses and the abuse of the poor and struggling peoples.
      Why do people have full time jobs , yet cannot find the money to cover their bills? This is the case for many people who work full time for corporations, yet qualify for federal and state welfare. Thus struck me, because it’s easy to go after the people making money hand over fist, using less than moral practices.
      The question of saving the environment is absolutely critical, yet we have companies and corporations and , even governments that are just as responsible for polluting and allowing big industry to get away with polluting.( Read: increased glyphosate I’m California ground water from heavy round up pesticides used on all crops in the state. )
      Does removing the growers ability to make money do anything for the working class people who struggle to make ends meet who play by the rules, yet keeps them in a vicious cycle of poverty and unable to get ahead.?

      Watching the Lance Armstrong documentary, he equated losing to dying, so that was his perspective on doing whatever it took to win. I’m lookin at the mindset of someone who would risk freedom and financial ruin to “win”.
      In present day humboldt, having a job and paying taxes doesn’t guarantee you anything , especially if you are or were involved in the timber industry or the fishing industry. The fact that people are struggling playing by the rules and the real issues we face as a society with automation and industry being moved out of state and even worse, out of the country.
      It’s hard to find fault with a sub culture when they are simply doing whatever they can to get ahead in a world that seems unjust and unfair, especially when you expect that playing within the rules, doesn’t guarantee that you will have a home or a job.

  • I know a few of the speakers at this thing. They all encouraged their friends to vote for the fake “legalization”. So yeah- morons. After many years of making big piles of cash and taking fancy expensive vacations they are now shocked that their wonderful “legalization” turns out to suck. I am enjoying watching them lose their composure and shriek and whine and cry. I really am. And I’m not sorry about that. I’ve been here since ’79 and I never got huge and greedy. I’ve paid off my land and modest house and I still live quite simply- like we all did when we landed here, remember? The shit show of greed and inflated egos should end with some people publicly crying about it all being “unfair”. Ha Ha Ha! BTW- Did you really think that somehow the county became your friend?!! They never liked you. And now you’d better give them all your money or get fined because you have all turned yourselves in! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!! Rubes and suckers…

    • You are always so self satisfied and smug. It must be nice to be so right all the time! I think you are not far off the mark about how ridiculous this whole shit show is, but your constant reminding yourself of how right you are is off putting. Have compassion for your neighbors who made dumb decisions… we are all in this together.

      • Are we really ,”in this together?”

        Where once we were unified and bonded by our outlaw culture, with secrets and wink & a nod goings-on, a new chapter begins.

        Now from those roots of solidarity and safety in numbers, a minute percentage have bent over to be regulated and compliant. And they aren’t enjoying it . And those that couldn’t or didn’t but remain, are now viewed as a threat or someone to be villified. Quite a stark sudden adversarial relationship where once we were all comrades .

      • I get your point about my smugness but we are not “in this together”. That #sameteam bs line was used by many as they used our community for a decade or more in their green rushing and greed rushing. I have no sympathy for the selfish and stupid who turned our counties (Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity) upside down in their quest for big dollars and Hollywood-style ego gratification. I know a bunch of small-timer back-to-the-landers who got caught up and buried by the completely unregulated greenrush. I hate to see them suffer. Yes- homes are being lost. But most of the crisis I see with people is due to terrible decisions, drug use and alcoholism. So again it is hard to cry along with them. We all saw this coming for real a few years ago yet there are still people spending like they are in full denial mode. Fancy restaurants, fancy cars, fancy vacations…you get my point. Why on earth should I feel sympathy for the folks who came here primarily for big money and then blew it all on earth-destroying consumer products? They were never on “my team”. I am glad they are losing their shit and I’ll be gladder to see them leave. I’m sorry if I sound cruel. That’s just how I see it. Most people I know and love are solidly here for the long-term because we dug in for different reasons than just big weed money. And we used our herb profits to contribute to watershed health, save and restore land, support local causes and infrastructure and secure our own long-term stability to remain here. The herb money was a gift- not something to be squandered. We all knew it would not last forever. “Nothing lasts”-old prankster saying.

        • there are tons of willing farmers who paid taxes followed rules even bought zip ties when they didnt have to who are getting locked out of the business. they saved and spent wisely , they worked hard. Some of us got busted our first year on our land. Life happens.

          obv we need to ‘adapt’ and all the other buzzwords, its the way one expresses their view that shows how truly divided we are. humble or cocksure. empathy or none.

          and yea its hard to have empathy for a girl who ‘might have to sell a parcel” when you’re living month to month like normal folk do but we all have our own journeys.

        • Yeah I kind of feel the same way honestly. I go back and forth… when I talk to these poor saps who poured everything into getting permitted, and are just now realizing what a messed up disaster it is, I feel kinda bad for them. For one, they can’t make a uturn and go back. They are basically screwed.
          But they didn’t pay attention to the details, so I have only so much sympathy. To me it never made sense to get the govt involved, but I guess that’s just my ethos.

          The county might be the smartest ones in this situation, in the short term. They are getting bucketloads of cash shoveled over to them and at the same time shutting down a lot of the growing in the county. Well played!
          Not a good long term strategy but man… has anyone spent a little time in the planning dept lately? Lots of cash being handed over the counter and lots of new employees. They are feeling really smart right now.

    • Growing weed and selling it on the black market is a no brainer, now running a business legally and being successful requires the use of your brain, which apparently is weeding out the less intelligent,,still tons of money to be made, just got to know the tax laws , and where to look.

      • I think it’s the other way around. Critical thinkers stayed out of the messed up legal markets. The lemmings jumped in.

  • Hmmmmm I’ll make it easy. Ill stay n outlaw. No new rules to obey by…

  • The Board of Supervisors doesnt care about the small time growers. The original mom and pops. It all about greed and who can make a buck off of whom else. It’s a sad situation. I sympathize but with all the money that was made over all these years when pot was illegal, well, why didn’t the small time growers keep a little nest egg or at least invest their money? You have to think of the future and plan for it. Now they are screwed. Be careful what you wish for.

  • what did you think would happen? the medical marijuana ruse started it and the demand for legality is finally chopping off all the good arms that the pot monster of greed grew.. how ironic. . i personally would love to see humboldt with less greedy misfits. And its clear the govt. will spend more money administering this nightmare of arcane rules than they take in. did you expect anything else from govt? look at the idiots we have as supervisors and legislators. and the lazy drones working in the planning dept.if i were a grower, id stay black market.

  • the county is getting its revenge on all the sneaky hippies who
    broke the laws for years and ate high class granola etc…
    estelle is beholden to her backer$ and doesn’t care…

    • Yep. That simple. Designed to profit county and state,NOT growers! Corporations and mega grow lobbist passed “legal” weed, not the people. County saw this coming,knew it would pass and designed a system for them to profit 10 fold while leaving the growers with nothing. Problem of eradication solved,all while NOT costing state or county…. Ingenious if you ask me

    • hippie can be anyone. who ur quoting are just flat out thieves not hippies. If your gonna type at least get it right from sofa!

  • I just wish that whatever the county does, it would enforce it. It’s too late to save the woods around 3/4s of my place that have been clear cut in the last 6 months with the intention of putting up greenhouses. There isn’t enough water to supply them. Yet those growers keep on proliferating. Logging has been going on nonstop. Whatever the county thinks they’re doing, it isn’t enough.

    If you have to tax the crap out of them to get the funds to seek them out and stop them, fine. Just do it. Don’t futz around raking in money and doing nothing.

  • I went to the meeting to actually thank the BOS and planning dept. for helping me and my family through the process. now we are one of the first to get our permit and we’re ready to go. (9000 sq ft) The cannabis dispensaries will soon have to prove that they are only getting cannabis from licensed farmers, and we are so happy That we can legitimately do that and make a living legally. It’s a relief really. Yes, we have to pay fees and taxes but all businesses have to do that.
    But I got cold feet to speak, I thought I might get booed since my story goes against what some of the speakers were claiming.

    • I hope you wouldn’t have been booed but thank you for speaking your piece here.

    • Well when you actually make some money get back to us. Are you confident that your product will be bought for a profit to you, after you pay for legal farm workers, curing and trimming services, packaging, track and trace program, pay your wholesaler (who takes 20% I’m hearing), and then your state and local taxes, all up front? My calcs puts it at about $500/pound up front cost (not counting any costs before harvest- all the labor and inputs through the spring and summer which are variables) . That’s a hard number, as in it doesn’t go down. It’s fixed cost of being legit.
      Also, that is up front, as in you pay that just to get it marketable. If the market won’t pay you more than that (including your wholesalers cut) you will lose money. And then add in all the money you paid to get the crop to harvest, at least another couple hundred per pound.

      And after all that, you better hope you have A+ quality and no chemical residue. And what will the market be? A lot of unknowns. I know this has always been part of the game. But never has the overhead been so high and the market so uncertain.
      I hope you are considering this in your rosy outlook!

  • Can anyone tell
    Me if the Chinese the Bulgarians the Russians who are growing in increasing numbers are paying their fair share? I heard the Bulgarians are funded by their government to do this with economic passes from the US. Probably the same for Russians and Chinese?? Can anyone address this?

  • I think the photo attached to this story is an example of very poor journalism judgement. An anonymous citizen should never be ridiculed by publishing such a photo. Show some maturity instead of grammar school sillyness. Apologies to grammar school students who have more sense.

  • Canada farms are liscensed to grow 500,000 kilos. So its going to be over for big California farms also.

  • Get the responsible blood sucking supes who come up with this unconstitutional taxation by the collar and let the skunk spray them in the mouth!
    Someone’s gonna loose it sooner or later and do something dumb. Are they forgetting they are in crazy humboldt county? Scum!

  • Pingback: Public Banking and Taxing the Wild Frontier: Part Two – Critical Fantasies

  • Pingback: Public Banking and Taxing the Wild Frontier – Critical Fantasies

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