A chorus of industry players and legislators representing “the two populations most affected by the war on drugs” – traditional farmers and BIPOC leaders –plan to go down on the steps of the California Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. on Thursday, Jan.13 for the # NODRUGWARV2 Rally and press conference. The rally begins at 11 a.m. PST, and all local cannabis advocates who care about the viability of the industry are invited.
the # NODRUGWARV2 The rally and press conference highlight two specific steps the California state legislature must take ahead of the July 1, 2022 budget deadline: repealing the excise tax for equity retailers and l abrogation of the cultivation tax for all producers in the State.
On January 1, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration’s increase in taxes on dry flowers took effect, ushering in the final blow to cultivators. Rates rose nearly five percent, reaching over $ 161 a pound. Calling the current tax situation in California the “War on Drugs 2.0”, the idea is to bring a sense of urgency to the problem as farms fail and tax rates purge valuable members of the industry. .
Speakers for the rally include, in order of appearance, Amber Senter, President and Executive Director of Supernova Women; member of the Mia Bonta Assembly (18th arrondissement); Genine Coleman of the Council of Origins; Kika Keith of Gorilla RX Wellness; John Casali of Huckleberry Hills Farm; Chaney Turner of the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission; Raeven Duckett-Robinson of the Community Gardens; Casey O’Neill of HappyDay Farms; Henry Alston by James Henry SF; Sam De La Paz of the Hessel Farmers Grange; Malakai Amen of the California Urban Partnership; Karla Avila of the Trinity County Agricultural Alliance; Carlton Williams of New Life CA; and Senator Steve Bradford (35th arrondissement). Senter will be the last speaker and will conclude the remarks of the day.
On Monday, January 10, Governor Gavin Newsom published the California State Budget 2022-2023– promising that he and his administration will tackle cannabis tax reform and better support small state licensed operators who are fed up with oppressive tax rates. The leaders behind Supernova Women and Origins Council are among those who are beating the drums.
“It’s very oppressive. Really, we are in crisis ”, Amber E. Senter of Supernova Women, a nonprofit that aims to empower blacks and brunettes to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis space, said Highlights. “Cannabis sales are down. The whole economy is a bit slack. People have been grappling with these onerous taxes since 2018 and people are really past their breaking point. They no longer have the capacity to continue under what we’ve been dealing with, especially in the Bay Area as well as Los Angeles. Many operators, especially social equity operators, face thefts and burglaries due to the economy and people who are desperate and doing acts out of desperation. People are being robbed, and they just can’t get over what’s going on. We need relief.
“Not only has the state failed to deliver on its promise to right the wrongs inflicted on minority communities by the War on Drugs,” Senter said, “but it also perpetuated the regressive policies of the War on Drugs 2.0 through oppressive taxation, which must end. “
Supernova Women was behind on November 29, 2021, rally and press conference at Oakland Town Hall, with help from the Origins Council, a nonprofit organization that represents and advocates for cannabis companies in California’s historic farming regions. There, they tackled the wave of thefts that have hit cannabis companies.
Former farmers are among those hardest hit by the burden of the tax structure. “From the perspective of a traditional smallholder farmer in a rural area, this is absolutely urgent. These companies are starting to disappear ”, Genine Coleman, executive director of the Origins Council, said Highlights. “These farmers are starting to put their properties up for sale and move out. Foresight extinction event has started and time is running out, especially for farmers who need to assess whether they are going to farm this year. It is always a challenge to work with the pace of government and policies. Keep in mind that we are farmers — so we have an agricultural calendar. And it is exactly now that these farmers are faced with these painful decisions: will they plant or withdraw their license? Potentially close the farm? There are other tandem pleas that we are doing that are also urgent. The ability for farmers to fallow for a year – to keep their license but without having the cost associated with the license, including some of the local tax structures that are independent of what your crop will look like that year.
The Origins Council represents nearly 900 growers and associates through its partnership with Trinity County Agriculture Alliance, Humboldt County Growers Alliance, Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, Sonoma County Growers Alliance, Nevada County Cannabis Alliance and Big Sur Farmers Association.
“When the tax was enacted, it represented about 10% of farm sales,” Casey O’Neill of HappyDay Farms told High Times. “With the stock market crash, the tax now accounts for up to 50 percent of agricultural sales. This is unacceptable, especially when California has a multibillion dollar budget surplus. Farms are on the verge of insolvency, now is the time to act boldly. “
Johnny Casali, a multigenerational small farmer who was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for growing this plant. Casali highlighted the specifics of the impact of the dry weight tax on growers. “I used to sell our cannabis grown at Huckleberry Hill Farm for around $ 1,400 a pound. Due to overproduction and lack of market access, this has brought the value down to $ 3-400 a pound, depending on quality, and I’m paying a 53 percent cultivation tax at $ 161.28 a pound. After the cost of production, I am in the red. I hope that with this Gathering, lawmakers will see the small farmer like me, as a rare and phenomenal group of family farmers who work hard and revere the land, who are diehard environmentalists, and whose parents are learned and grandparents how to grow the best cannabis in the world with little to no carbon footprint. We are worth saving.
the # NoDrugWarV2 A rally and press conference with the Supernova Women and Origins Council is scheduled for Thursday, January 13 at 11:00 a.m. PST on the Capitol Steps, west side. Please arrive masked and ready to use COVID-19 best practices for avoidance.
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