Santa Barbara Supervisors Vote on New Tax Rates for Marijuana Industry

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved new proposed tax rates for cannabis operations Tuesday, but left a number of important decisions to a future date.

The Board selected tax rates of 6 percent for retailers, 4 percent for cultivators, 3 percent for manufacturers, and 1 percent for nurseries and distributors -- all based on gross receipts. They also went for an 8 percent cap for vertically integrated operations.

However, all of this is subject to approval by voters. Supervisors couldn’t agree on whether to put the issue on the ballot in June or November. They also haven’t decided whether it would be a special tax or general tax and whether it should apply countywide or only to incorporated areas. Those key decisions will likely follow forthcoming recommendations from the Planning Commission.

District 2 Supervisor Janet Wolf voted against the proposal because she felt the rates were too generous.

“I think we’re giving the industry a lot,” said Wolf. “I think the revenue will have to cover our costs.”

The proposed rates were initially going to be higher. They were lowered by county staff and again by supervisors after discussions with industry representatives.