Class action suit filed on behalf of cannabis growers in California county

A class action lawsuit was filed in an attempt to win back roughly $16 million in taxes and fees paid to a California county by cannabis growers that were hoping to gain local and state licenses.

The suit, filed Aug. 3 against Calaveras County in northeastern California, alleges county officials “unlawfully compelled” cannabis growers to pay “exorbitant, mandatory registration taxes and fees” in 2017 before banning all commercial marijuana cultivation in January 2018.

“This is a case of taxation without representation,” plaintiff Andrew Greer, CEO of Golden State Herb, said in a news release.

Greer called the county’s move a “bait and switch” because officials took marijuana company money to help balance the county budget and then voted to ban their businesses.

The suit seeks a refund for all cannabis taxes and fees paid to the county, which totals $16.3 million, according to the release.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 5.

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6 comments on “Class action suit filed on behalf of cannabis growers in California county
  1. George Bianchini on

    “This is a case of taxation without representation,”
    I’ve watch this from the start. When Calaveras County “advertised” for cannabis farmers to come to the county a year before BCC rolled out licensing, many including myself thought there was a glimmer of daylight in the chaotic State cannabis program. Many were looking to continue their trade in a legal fashion and come into the light of day.
    One of our companies, organic farmers which I will refer to as Mike and his son Mike Jr. growing in Sacramento County jumped at the opportunity and purchased a permitted property, applied for and received permits and developed the property. Like many others they had to pay the prevailing rates, an enhanced valuation on zoned properties where cannabis could be grown.
    A million dollars later, the combined assets of the whole family the first grow was a success. All of that income went back into the property to ensure future farming in a compliant effort.
    After the county raised millions on very expensive permitting, bought new police cars and put on new staff the county changed directions and banned cannabis. While this is legal on its face, It should come at a price. Bait and switch is common in politics, and so are lawsuits. The ban has and will destroy many farmers that have complied with the rules and regulations. I have not read the lawsuit but I hope that aside from the taxes and fees, that huge punitive damages be awarded to send a message to municipalities that there are consequences for misleading law abiding farmers for profit. This is another prime example of why so many cannabis companies are going to the black market.
    The betrayal of prop 64 post the election on many fronts has infused (pun intended) the grey and black market like nothing else ever has.
    President Jefferson once said,

    • President George Washington advised on hemp:
    “Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” [Eazy Smoke]

    • Mike Jr on

      Thanks from all of the once legal farms up here in Calaveras County! Your comment is 100% correct and for literally 3 individuals to decide the fate of 200+ State Licensed Farms and families is just wrong in so many ways. We all appreciate your comment.

  2. Curt James on

    Hmmm….not so sure a judge who works for and receives his salary and retirement benefits from the government is capable of objectivity and fairness. Bambozzled farmers may be better off seeking justice the old fashioned way.

  3. David on

    In some anti-corrupt places politicians are caned in public. Even sentenced to death. We need to start instituting stronger penalties for these criminals. That would send a message.

  4. Nick on

    I’m a former grower in this county I now run an organic veggie farm it’s not so bad. Adapt or die that’s how I look at it the new program will likely be back up and running in about a year.

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