March 15, 2017
On behalf of the California Growers Association (CGA) representing over 800 members in 46 counties throughout California, we write to indicate our “support” position on SB 148, which authorizes counties and the State Board of Equalization to collect cash payments on behalf of state agencies that regulate medical cannabis businesses.
Our members live with the challenges and risks of an all cash industry. Without access to banking services, common financial activities like retirement savings and purchasing health insurance coverage is very difficult. The all-cash nature of the cannabis industry is straining the cash collection capacity of regulatory agencies that will be interacting and licensing cannabis business owners and growers throughout the state. The lack of financial services is inhibiting our members’ ability to meet financial obligations associated with state and local regulatory requirements or taxes. This problem will only get worse as comprehensive regulatory programs are brought online over the next 24 months.
SB 148 would authorize county treasurer/tax collectors and the State Board of Equalization to enter into an agreement with a state regulatory agency to collect cash payments for any license fee, local/state tax or applicable penalty payable to the state agency by a licensed cannabis business. Payments made by cannabis businesses at the local county or BOE regional office would then be transmitted to the appropriate state licensing or regulating authority. Conversely, a licensed cannabis businesses could submit cash payments to a licensing state agency and those payments would be remitted to the appropriate local agency for licensing or payment of a licensing, regulatory fee or tax. The bill would place a cap on the maximum fee to support the cost of administering this service of no more than 10%.
CGA sincerely appreciates Senator Wiener and Atkins’ efforts to ensure California’s cannabis businesses can remit their license fees and appropriate taxes associated with regulation, compliance and licensure. We encourage support of SB 148.