October is always busy for cannabis farmers as they hurry to harvest their crops before the fall rains. But this year, Karla Avila, a pot farmer in Northern California’s Trinity County, isn’t only racing against the weather. She’s also rushing to harvest her plants fast enough to pay a December licensing bill to the state’s Department of Cannabis Control.
If she fails to pay the bill, her Flowerdaze farm could go out of business.
“The race against time is whether I can actually sell my crop and get paid back in time to pay the DCC,” Avila told SFGATE. And even if she is able to pay the licensing fee, she doesn’t expect to have any money left over to pay herself or buy food for her two kids. “Once all of the fees and taxes are taken out, I am going to have very little left for operating my business and probably no income,” Avila said. “Probably just enough to pay next year’s fees — if I’m lucky.”
Avila hasn’t always been stuck in this painful loop. Last year, her licensing fee was waived because she qualified for the state’s cannabis equity fee waiver program, which pays for licensing fees for business owners who were disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs. But that program is now nearly out of money, leaving her on the hook to cut a check.