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SLO Supervisors tweak marijuana policy and talk taxes 

The SLO County Board of Supervisors resolved a hiccup in their county cannabis ordinance on Jan. 9 that had barred registered growers from receiving state licenses.

Supervisors directed county staff to provide state cannabis regulators letters of good standing for local registered cultivators in the process of applying for county permits to grow marijuana. The letter is required by the state in order to grant temporary licenses to hopeful businesses.

In a subsequent item, the board also considered a cannabis tax proposal by county Auditor-Controller-Tax Collector Jim Erb. The supervisors tentatively signed off on a 4 percent tax on gross receipts that would increase by 2 percent each year to a maximum of 10 percent. The tax would be for general use—meaning the revenue generated from it could be spent however the Board of Supervisors decides. That type of tax also only requires a majority vote, as opposed to a two-thirds vote.

Erb said the county should seek sufficient tax revenue to pay for both the "known and unknown" consequences of legalized marijuana and "protect the general fund." He cautioned, though, against passing excessive taxes that would overburden industry members, pointing out that the state is already taxing the industry heavily.

"If we overtax this industry, it's going to create a gray or black market," Erb said.

If the board finalizes the tax proposal in February, it will go before county voters at the June primary elections. Δ

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