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SLO County Board of Supervisors freeze cannabis tax for upcoming fiscal year

A cannabis plant
Flickr.com/Pat Gerber
A cannabis plant

A cannabis tax increase in San Luis Obispo County was halted June 24 at a special Board of Supervisors meeting.

The Cannabis Business Tax is meant to increase by two percent every year, and it’s only directed toward businesses in unincorporated areas of the county. At the meeting, the board voted to keep it at 6% rather than raising it to 8%.

Shawn Bean is the owner of The Source, a local cannabis company. He said his business would struggle to survive in the county if the tax was increased this year.

“A lower tax rate allows entrepreneurs like myself to hire more people, do more business, invest back into the company,” Bean said.

Justin Cooley, the deputy director of the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office, said blocking the increase will help business owners in the cannabis industry make more money.

“The industry has been a little slower to get established than they anticipated, and so I think the thought of holding the tax rate was just to give them a little more time,” Cooley said.

According to county officials, the money generated from the business tax would go toward the region’s general fund. Cooley said the increase would have provided an extra $250,000 for the area's general fund in the upcoming fiscal year.

The tax is expected to rise again next year unless the board votes against it.

KCBX Reporter Sarina Grossi is a Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo graduate. At Cal Poly, she worked as a news anchor and reporter for KCPR Radio and as the Digital Manager for Mustang Media Group. Sarina was editor-in-chief of her community college newspaper. In her free time, she likes to read, watch movies, do arts and crafts, and go to thrift and antique stores.
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