When Mono County first established regulations on cannabis grow operations in 2018, there
were a lot of unknowns as well as lot of state requirements and fees.

Now that the industry has been functioning for four years without the world, as we know it, imploding, the State has pulled back on some of those fees and Janet Dutcher, Mono’s finance director, figured it was time to follow suit. The Board agreed at Tuesday’s meeting. Dutcher explained Mono tax rates mirrored California rates, including a specific tax on growers.

The goal was to keep the cost of production high enough to cover the administrative costs to
the County but low enough to discourage black market growers. At that time, the growers’
price was $800 a pound.

Fast forward four years, the prices have dropped to an average of $300 a pound of raw product,
according to Dutcher. Initially, the cumulative tax burden on Mono County growers was 27-
percent. Dutcher’s recommendation in 2018 was to keep the total tax burden at or below 30-
percent. With the State dropping the growers’ tax, based on the square footage of the
operation, Mono County’s percentage of that burden now looks ominous.

Dutcher’s preferred option was to waive the cannabis cultivation tax for three fiscal years, then
wait and see what the State did. The only wrinkle in that recommendation was the fact Mono
put cannabis, and all the regulations cannabis entailed, on the ballot and got voter approval.
Staff wasn’t sure of the legal ramifications of changes an ordinance approved by voters.

County Counsel Stacey Simon will be checking out the legal details and have the information by
the Supervisors’ next meeting, November 8.

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