Cannabis concerns are mounting for growers on the Central Coast as an increased sales tax now goes into effect

Starting July 1, local cannabis owners in San Luis Obispo County will have to pay more sales tax.

In 2018, SLO County voted to approve Measure B-18, which introduced a cannabis corporate tax in the unincorporated areas of SLO County. From 4% onwards, the gross income is automatically increased by 2% per year to a maximum of 10% from July.

“These are automatic increases unless the board takes action to either suspend or decrease them,” Bruce Gibson, supervisor of SLO County District 2, told the Board of Supervisors meeting.

The reason for the increase?

According to the board of directors, the tax was introduced to mitigate the potential impact of legalized cannabis use in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County.

Some local breeders say it does more harm than good.

Nicolas Pitchon, a small cannabis entrepreneur, says that getting a cultivation permit is already a difficult process that has taken him over two years. Aside from the new tax hike, he says the process of growth in SLO County is expensive.

“Santa Barbara County makes millions of dollars in tax revenue,” said Pitchon. “The cannabis industry costs SLO County millions of dollars from the general fund every year.”

However, according to the city of SLO, the proposed business tax could bring in about $ 1.5 million annually.

Santa Barbara County’s sales tax is still 4% while they have approximately 255 acres of fully licensed and licensed cannabis land. There are only about 15 acres of legal cannabis land in SLO County out of a total of 2.2 million acres.

While it may be legalized nationwide, many local growers feel that there are still many hurdles to overcome.

“In California we are already used to being over-regulated, but can you believe that in an environment that is already over-regulated? I mean, it’s miserable, ”said Pitchon.

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