Board approves enforcement ordinance

Sends cannabis issue to voters

Cannabis issues filled the agenda at a special Plumas County Board of Supervisors meeting May 31. The board addressed items concerning the moratorium enforcement, the cannabis ballot measure, and the county cannabis draft ordinance.

Cannabis moratorium ordinance approved

The board heard the final reading of the cannabis cultivation enforcement ordinance and approved the ordinance with a unanimous vote. Though members of the public spoke against the ordinance, calling it “draconian” and “biased,” the board members cited the need for the enforcement of the cannabis moratorium in the county.

“The main criticism that we have all had is that we did not give the sheriff the teeth to enforce the moratorium when we gave him the moratorium enforcement,” said District 3 Supervisor Sherrie Thrall. “I look at this as giving him the tools that he needs.”

The county gave the sheriff’s office the task of enforcing the cannabis moratorium in February, and since then, the county has been working on an ordinance to quicken the pace of enforcement and abatement measures for illegal cannabis cultivators.

The sheriff’s office will be conducting the enforcement of the ordinance as an administrative or civil code process. This will entail citations, fines and even liens on properties if the illegal cannabis grow is not abated.

“We have the moratorium. We voted on it, and we need to enforce this,” said District 1 Supervisor Michael Sanchez.

Department heads weigh in on cannabis initiative

The board received an extensive report from 13 county department heads concerning the impact that the Medicinal and Adult Use of Cannabis Ordinance would have on the county, if implemented.

The ordinance, known as MAUCO, is a 47-page document that outlines proposed regulations for commercial cannabis in the county. The document was created by members of the Keep Plumas Green coalition and aims to allow limited commercial growth in the county with special consideration for priority residents.

The initiative proposes that commercial cannabis growers would have to apply for a growing license, the cost of which can vary from $1,000 to $10,000. It establishes the zones in which the activity is allowed, set back requirements from schools and property lines, and indoor grow regulations. It also imposes an initial 2 percent tax rate on the grower’s net profits to be given to the county.

The initiative process allows for any citizen to get their issues on the ballot, as long as they follow the correct processes.  After MAUCO received the appropriate amount of voter signatures, the board reviewed the document at the beginning of May.

At that meeting, the board could have adopted the ordinance immediately, submitted it to the voters in the next election or ordered a report, due in 30 days, from department heads concerning the potential impact the ordinance might have on county departments. The board was and is prohibited from making any alterations to the ordinance, no matter what option they chose.

The board opted to receive reports from department heads on the impact the initiative would have on the county.

Planning Director Randy Wilson compiled the report, which said if the initiative passed, there would have to be significant restructuring at the county level to implement the ordinance.

The most significant impact would be the establishment of an entirely new licensing function within the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office. The county would also have to purchase and establish new licensing and tracking software for the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office and the Auditor-Controller’s Office.

The report says the effects on the general fund are unknown at this time “due to the uncertainty of the actual costs to various County Offices and Departments, and the lack of certainty of revenue from the proposed general tax.”

The 2 percent tax raised criticism from the county auditor-controller’s office.

“This initiative does not provide guidance for the calculation of net revenue less expenses,” Auditor-Controller Roberta Allen wrote. “It is the opinion of the Auditor-Controller that the income from the 2 percent fee will be negligible.”

“Well, being in business as long as I have, the end result you want come tax time is your net profit being zero,” said District 5 Supervisor Jeff Engel. “Two percent of zero is zero.”

“It is really difficult to be in cannabis, so in order to get to a level of being state regulated we are under an eagle’s eye,” said MAUCO proponent and co-author Chelsea Bunch during public comment. “It is highly scrutinized. There is really no way for us to jip the system … We are not able to write off our soil, we are not able to write of our tractors … We get taxed very heavily.”

The board voted to send the initiative to the voters. The initiative will be on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election. Parties interested in reading the department heads’ reports can visit plumascounty.us under the Board of Supervisor tab.

County Draft Ordinance process paused

The board also voted to pause the development of a county cannabis ordinance until the results from the Nov. 6 election are known. The county has been drafting its own cannabis ordinance for almost two years. Currently, the draft ordinance is waiting for review by the Planning Commission.

Supervisor Thrall said the cannabis issue has taken up the majority of the planning department’s time over the past two years, and the department is falling behind on important general plan issues as a result.

“I don’t see any point of them taking additional time to come up with an ordinance that may or may not have any validity. If the initiative passes the [county draft] ordinance will be in the garbage can and all those man hours will be lost,” said Thrall. “If it doesn’t pass, then we still have the moratorium in place that will give [the Planning Commission] time to finish up an ordinance.”

“With the initiative on the ballot, I wouldn’t want to waste any time until we know the results,” said Engel.

The board voted unanimously to postpone the development on the draft to allow the planning commission to work on other issues.

17 thoughts on “Board approves enforcement ordinance

  • June 8, 2018 at 8:36 am
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    MAUCO proposed a 2% tax on net profits!
    What a joke!
    The very same people pushing this garbage are trying to line their own pockets at the expense of Plumas County residents.

  • June 8, 2018 at 2:08 pm
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    Why is 2% a joke? I emailed every BOS the night before and gave them data to show what kind of revenue would come in. It’s actually a fitting tax, as studies continue to show success of a regulated market to keep the sum of taxes under 20% for a healthy market in order to exsponge the bad players.. Measure B would make it 17%. And Engle, Thrall, and the auditor are well aware their comments about net tax need to be redacted, stay tuned. Facts didnt matter much in this Ol Boy County May 31… but they soon will 😉

    • June 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm
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      “ And Engle, Thrall, and the auditor are well aware their comments about net tax need to be redacted, stay tuned.

      Comments redacted!!!!
      Are you trying to cover up what was said by the Board of Supervisors?

    • June 9, 2018 at 8:08 am
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      Your math is flawed here so lets bring it out into the light for the hidden details.
      You state the MAUCO proposal will keep the weed taxes at 17% to keep a “healthy market under 20%” how kind of you to keep your tax low however….
      Calif taxes on the gross sales of weed and your proposed MAUCO 2% tax is on the net profit so you don’t get to add that 2% to the gross tax number because it will be a fraction of it if anything depending on profits. So the 17% is just a made up number. Lets look at the Controller comments again…
      Auditor-Controller Roberta Allen wrote. “It is the opinion of the Auditor-Controller that the income from the 2 percent fee will be negligible.” Even Oakland taxes on the gross sales.

      • June 9, 2018 at 7:29 pm
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        How is a sum of 17% made up when the STATE taxes 15% and the county would tax 2%? AND the county has the ability to raise the 2 up to 6, totaling a 21% total tax?! Only thing made up is your approach to taxing. The numbers don’t lie.

        • June 9, 2018 at 8:07 pm
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          “How is a sum of 17% made up when the STATE taxes 15% and the county would tax 2%“

          No they don’t… again that 2% MAUCO tax is on the net profits and you keep adding it to the gross sales along with the state tax to come up with 17% Perhaps you should educate yourself with a course in simple business or do you think Plumas County residents are too stupid to figure your 2% on Net profits will equal a fractional gross tax?

  • June 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm
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    No one wants to talk about the permit fees covering the five new employees per the reports given, or the fact that the net tax will bring in millions for the general fund.

    • June 8, 2018 at 5:28 pm
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      At 2% tax of the net profits you think the tax will be millions?
      So $200 million in profits selling weed in Plumas County?
      Perhaps someone is dipping into the product to get these numbers…

      • June 8, 2018 at 6:12 pm
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        Keep up your foolish rhetoric. You’re only helping the cause for Measure B to become law. You figuratively and literally have no clue what you’re chiming in on. But bless you for trying to comprehend. xoxo

  • June 8, 2018 at 3:30 pm
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    A tax on the Net profits is a joke..
    Any good CPA can get that number close to zero and the Controller agrees…

    Controller Roberta Allen wrote. “It is the opinion of the Auditor-Controller that the income from the 2 percent fee will be negligible.”

    “Well, being in business as long as I have, the end result you want come tax time is your net profit being zero,” said District 5 Supervisor Jeff Engel. “Two percent of zero is zero.”

  • June 8, 2018 at 3:51 pm
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    Exactly! Engle doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Maybe I should send you the facts about what net tax is for cannabis related businesses Mr Luscri, oh wait, I mean “No on Measure B”. Educate yourself before you make comments. Learn what a 280-E is, then come try and talk about it with me.

  • June 8, 2018 at 3:54 pm
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    The point of the tax being on net, was that cannabis businesses are denied certain deductions like normal businesses. It starts at 2%, but does reach 6% in the end.

    Meanwhile, the application fees take care of every other costs and anything the tax makes is a bonus anyway.

    Let’s not forget that jobs will be created and that increases spending in the county, and all that get taxed.

    We tried not to make cannabis a cash cow that made tons of money for the county very quickly and then put everyone out of business.

    Try to appreciate there is more than one revenue stream here.

  • June 8, 2018 at 9:04 pm
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    I’m a third generation grower formerly from Mendocino.

    I’m absolutely amazed at the BS. you people have to make pot look like it will be this counties salvation. Take a drive over to Mendocino or Humboldt folks, it will change your opinion on commercial cultivation in a real hurry.

    The pro people also leave out the stubborn fact that only 10% of California’s growers have gone legit and pay a dime in taxes. Or, the crime that goes with it. Trust me, your life in this county will be forever changed if commercial cultivation passes.

    Tess

    • June 9, 2018 at 7:35 pm
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      What is your point with irrelevant facts like your great gammy grew too? Mendocino has 5x the number of citizens, and from what I gather it offers only cultivation licenses, unlike Measure B which meets all state statutes and gives a plethora of license types in which offer different permit fees and opportunities for Plumas County to collect revenue. Your point(s) are moot.

  • June 9, 2018 at 6:59 am
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    The impact report prepared by the planning department is an excellent work product, very educational. It is refreshing to consider the “nuts and bolts” of the initiative without judgement. I have had many projects go through this department over the years, and have always found them helpful, knowledgeable, productive. They are a great team, we are lucky to have them.

  • June 9, 2018 at 7:48 am
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    The voters need to think REALLY hard about having the “Keep Plumas Green/Measure B” be the face of the cannibis business in Plumas county. The residents of Plumas County deserve better!

  • June 9, 2018 at 5:50 pm
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    I agree you can gain a lot of information from those reports. When an Ag Commissioner only needs <30k to do his job, or the other departments that gave objective info, it’s useful. But when 25% of those reports give subjective and personal opinions that are layered in fallacies and inconsistencies with state law, there’s more education that needs to be done locally. Many false claims and confusion; in which some even acknowledge in their reports. I commend the majority of the departments for giving their responses. They had a limited time and did the best they could.

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