And it’s about to get busier
The first quarter of 2017 is over. For Green Trade it was our first quarter ever and we’ve accomplished a lot. More importantly however is news of what to expect in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Organization Membership Both membership and interest in becoming a member of Green Trade continues apace. While our banking issues have yet to be resolved (thanks for your patience) we are optimistic and have meetings scheduled this week to seek a resolution. Because of this we have not been proactive in membership fee collection, once we establish a banking relationship we will begin a more concerted member recruitment and collection process.
We continue to offer two voting membership options: Founding ($2,500) and Charter ($1,500). Quarterly and monthly payment plans are available upon request.
A third non-voting class of membership ($500) is under discussion to accommodate ancillary businesses that serve or support clients and consumers in the cannabis trade as well as marginal producers and other interested parties who only want to be kept informed about local issues.
If you have not completed our membership application process please take a moment to fill out the form on our website: http://greentradesantacruz.org
Membership, Marketing, Events and Policy committees are forming and meeting we will update you on developments from each in subsequent communications.
Marketing/Events We are anxious to begin sharing our work developing short and long range marketing and events programs. We will be rolling out upgrades to the website and social media accounts in the coming weeks including a calendar, blog and YouTube channel. We invite you to follow us and connect on Facebook now. Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms are in the works.
We want to support and amplify member marketing whenever possible. While we grow the Green Trade accounts, the Facebook and Twitter account for SLVNews (administered by Jim Coffis with a reach of over 3,000 each) is being used for that purpose.
We’re taking notice of lots of member marketing including new designs, logos and packaging as well as print ads. Watch for a separate email addressing progress and new initiatives that you can participate in.
Local News: First Ever Cannabis Business License in Santa Cruz County Issued
Congratulations to Bryce Berryessa and Cookie 831 for becoming the first Santa Cruz County Cannabis business to be licensed! The Soquel dispensary earned that distinction on March 22, 2017. A dozen other operations could receive their licenses in coming days and the Board of Supervisors seemed interested in allowing at least one other retail operation to seek licensure.
Pre-Licensing Site Inspections Over 400 applicants for cultivation licenses were notified that they are eligible to receive a “pre-licensing” inspection. Those inspections were to begin this week. No information yet on how many growers have requested an inspection or how many county staffers would be involved in on-site visits or what criteria will be used to determine how compliant individual sites might be. Cost for the site visit is $2,500.
The over 500 registrants who completed the process anonymously are not eligible for the inspections until they identify themselves and update their registration info.
Manufacturing Ordinance Revisions to the draft ordinance regulating processing and manufacture of cannabis products are being made by the County Cannabis Licensing staff. Green Trade hosted a a very productive meeting on March 23 with Licensing Manager Dan Peterson and his assistant Loretta Moreno that was attended by over 50 local business representatives.
Attendees were able to offer valuable insight on a wide variety of issues including the safe operation of processing equipment storage of solvents and other chemicals, best practices, taxation, zoning and much more. Input is still welcome. Of particular use are examples of similar processes in other industries and how they are regulated.
Taxation We expect there will be continuing discussion of the current 7% rate on gross revenue from all cannabis businesses at the next Board of Supervisors meeting April 11. It is important that Supervisors hear how unsustainable that rate is particularly for the small operators that make up the vast majority of Santa Cruz County cannabis businesses. Please plan to attend the BOS meeting and express your opinion. We believe it is in everyone’s best interest to significantly reduce the rate to increase compliance, allow local businesses to compete on the state level and to help businesses survive and prosper in what will be a turbulent and expensive transition to a fully regulated market.
Reminder from the County Tax Collector: On November 8, 2016, the voters in the unincorporated area of the County of Santa Cruz passed Measure E. Measure E (Section G) states “Cannabis business” or “medical marijuana business” means business activity directly involved with, related to, or concerning cannabis, including, but not limited to, cultivating, dispensing, transporting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, processing, preparing, storing, packaging, or conducting wholesale and/or retail sales of cannabis and any ancillary products in the unincorporated area of the County, whether or not carried on for gain or profit.
A 7% gross receipts tax is due to the County on all transactions entered into by such a business whose situs is located in the unincorporated area, regardless of where the sale transaction occurs.
Businesses subject to the ordinance are required to: 1. Complete and submit a Business Tax Registration form to the Santa Cruz County Treasurer-Tax Collector at 701 Ocean Street, Room 150, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.
2. File a monthly Cannabis Business Tax Statement and remit any taxes due to the Santa Cruz County Tax Collector at 701 Ocean Street, Room 150, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. The tax is due by the end of the month following the month of reporting.