Yo, what’s up, fam? Listen up, ’cause Santa Barbara County officials ain’t playing around when it comes to cannabis businesses and their taxes. They’re getting real strict with the rules, tryna make sure these businesses stay current on their tax payments. Starting in August, if a cannabis business in Santa Barbara County, California doesn’t pay their quarterly taxes or file the right paperwork within the 30-day grace period, they could straight up lose their license to operate. That’s some serious stuff right there.
Deputy County Executive Officer Brittany Odermann ain’t mincing her words, she told the Board of Supervisors that it’s no joke. “You are late…you cannot renew.” Damn, they mean business.
These supervisors unanimously voted to approve some measures to increase penalties on these cannabis license holders. They tryna put a stop to all these businesses that can’t seem to get their act together when it comes to paying on time and filing reports. It’s a growing problem, man. According to Whitney Economics, less than a quarter of U.S. cannabis businesses are turning a profit. No wonder the back taxes keep piling up in Santa Barbara County.
The Santa Maria Sun reports that during a June 6 cannabis meeting, county staff found out that 12 operators hadn’t even bothered to submit their third quarter tax reports by April 30. Only three of ’em filed between April 30 and June 6. That ain’t cool. So those supervisors had a meeting and they told the staff to come up with some stricter penalties and consequences for these sorry excuses of businesses. The taxes and reports are due at the end of January, April, July, and October, so there’s plenty of time for these fools to get their act together.
But hold up, not all the supervisors were on board with these harsher penalties. 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino wasn’t feelin’ it at all. He straight up said, “This ain’t how we collect taxes in the county. We go from a little slap on the wrist to a death penalty.” That’s like sayin’ if you’re one day late on your TOT or property taxes, you gotta close down your hotel or move outta your crib. That’s some messed up stuff, man.
Lavagnino wants these businesses to pay their taxes, but he don’t think they should be forced outta the cannabis industry. That ain’t what the supervisors had in mind when they were talkin’ about stricter penalties. They just want these fools to pay up, ya feel?
Now, there was already a 30-day grace period in place for these cannabis taxes. The new amendments won’t change that. Odermann said that if the taxes are due on January 1, then the businesses gotta pay ’em by January 30. They also gotta file a report along with those taxes. But if they miss that deadline, it’s a wrap. Odermann straight up said, “There’s the death penalty.” She ain’t playin’ around.
Some of the other supervisors agreed that these rules were too much. 1st District Supervisor Das Williams spoke up and said, “Nobody else lives by this standard.” He asked if there was any other option. Can these people just go ahead and prepay their cannabis taxes so they don’t have to worry about this quarterly mess? If the goal is to collect more money and fix this problem, then why not give ’em that option?
But let me tell you, this ain’t the first time Santa Barbara County has had some issues with its cannabis regulations. Back in 2020, a grand jury criticized the county’s regulations in a report. They said that the Board of Supervisors let the cannabis businesses call the shots and didn’t do what was best for the county residents. The grand jury got a bunch of requests to look into the board’s actions when it came to creating the cannabis regulations. It’s a hot mess, man.
So there you have it, Santa Barbara County ain’t playin’ around when it comes to these cannabis businesses and their taxes. They’re droppin’ the “death penalty” on ’em if they ain’t payin’ up. It’s a tough world out there for these cannabis entrepreneurs, but they gotta get their act together if they wanna stay in business. No more slacking off, no more late payments. It’s time to step up or step out.