If voters in Humboldt County, California, accept an extra measure that appears on their ballots this November, they’ll make the county the first in the history of the state to tax cannabis farmers. The tax has a rate of $1 to $3 per square foot of cultivation.
Indoor grows are the most heavily taxed, a $3 per square foot, followed by mixed-light at $2, and outdoor at $1. Smaller grow operations protested the tax as discriminatory in the favor of larger farms, but the tax is significantly lower than some being proposed. Mednocino County is looking to tax $100 per plant, according to county documents.
Patrick Murphy, a Humboldt County cannabis farmer said he is thrilled by the development. “It’s very expensive for a farm ranch to come into compliance, so by setting the rate at the lowest in the state, they’ve set a precedent,” he said. “We know the other counties in the state are looking at our county for answers.”
The proceeds of the tax will be put back into the community, used to build better infrastructure, schools, and emergency services. Isaiah O’Donnell, another cannabis farmer in the county, is happy to help his community.
“I have two little girls and a third on the way, and there’s major cause for concern,” he said. “There’s underfunded schools, an underfunded police department, roads that are falling apart, a mental health system that can’t afford to have an emergency department. We absolutely want to give back to this community.
Both commercial farmers were concerned by the difficulties the excise tax could pose for smaller, non-commercial operations. They think that mom and pop farms should not be included in the tax.