After hearing an hour and a half of pleading, distraught public commentary from financially struggling local cannabis growers, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors gave them a reprieve on Tuesday, voting 3-1, with Second District Supervisor Michelle Bushnell abstaining, to suspend Measure S cultivation taxes for the next two years.
Bushnell abstained because she has her own cultivation operation, and Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson cast the lone “no” vote. He observed that the booming cannabis economy people are harking back to was based on prohibition. He also noted that while growers may unanimously support axing the tax, a majority of voters approved Measure S. “That’s the constituency, ultimately, that we that we are answering to,” Wilson said.
Back in February, the board slashed 2020 Measure S bills by 85%, citing profound economic struggles for an industry beset by rampant overproduction and a transition away from small-scale farms in remote forested hills. According to growers who spoke on Tuesday, things have only gotten worse.
Tabatha Miller, the county’s chief financial officer, and assistant county administrative officer, said there’s a 57% delinquency rate for the current tax year, even with the dramatic 85% reduction.
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