For years a county tax on cannabis has been bantered about, and several attempts at ballot measures have been made. Yet, Trinity County — in the middle of the Emerald Triangle and constantly crying poverty— still has no tax on legal cannabis produced in this county.
That can change with Measure G on the Nov. 3 ballot.
As crafted by the Trinity County Agricultural Alliance, the proposed tax on a commercial grow would be a flat rate tax per pound of cannabis that will vary based on the type and weight harvested. In addition, Measure G would impose a 2.5 percent of gross sales tax for each cannabis retail license held by a person within the county. The 2.5 percent would be on top of the current 7.25 percent state sales tax.
Revenue from the tax — and estimates vary from six to seven figures annually — would go to the county's general fund. It will be calculated and reported using the METRC track and trace system used by California and several other states to track all cannabis activities and calculate state cultivation taxes.
An analysis provided by Trinity County County Counsel Margaret Long says the measure would not authorize unlawful conduct and would exempt non-commercial adult use, medical use and caregiver use. The measure would establish penalties for failure to remit taxes when due and includes an appeals process.
It’s not as strong against illegal grows as earlier proposed measures, but we believe this is a good starting point for something that has had a hard time getting started.
A ballot argument in favor of Measure G signed by TCAA President Adrien Keys says the product-based, flat-rate and tiered tax is intended to encourage small, less impactful farms and higher quality production. He notes the proposed rate is competitive with Trinity County's neighbors' rates and "will not overly burden consumers who choose to participate in regulated cannabis consumption."
The proposed measure would allow the Trinity County Board of Supervisors to lower the tax by a majority board vote, but the tax could not be increased without voter approval. Future supervisors would be unlikely to do so, and would almost certainly face political backlash unless a rock-solid reason emerges.
We've said all along when the legal cannabis market finally shakes out, Trinity County will be providing mostly high-end, boutique products. This measure is in line with that view.
We urge a Yes vote on Measure G.