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US (CA): Struggling Humboldt County growers need help

For the last year, Humboldt County’s cannabis farmers have struggled to make ends meet as the price per pound of cannabis continues to fall as a result of massive overproduction across the state. Many agree that decreasing the costs of production and eliminating the state cultivation tax would be the quickest path to immediate relief for cannabis farmers. Some say the key is branding and developing a marketing strategy that will help secure Humboldt County’s name as a world-renowned producer of high-quality sun-grown cannabis. Further integrating the cannabis industry into the local tourism industry is yet another strategy that could uplift small farmers.

“One of the biggest costs of production is the state cultivation tax, which is a set fixed rate that recently went up which only added insult to injury,” Natalynne DeLapp, executive director for the Humboldt County Growers Alliance said. The cultivation tax for flower per dry-weight pound will increase from $154.40 per pound to $161.28 beginning January 1, 2022, according to the state Department of Tax and Fee Administration. “Sun-grown farmers that are only getting $300 a pound are being disproportionately impacted whereas indoor operators are getting a much higher rate per pound. We need to deal with that discrepancy.”

Julie Benbow, executive director of the Humboldt County Visitors Bureau, echoed DeLapp’s call for immediate tax relief. “The difficult situation right now is that the legal cannabis farmers in Humboldt County, not only have their prices tanked but they are taxed a huge amount of money per pound,” she said.

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