By ISABELLA VANDERHEIDEN | Times-Standard
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors appointed 1st District Supervisor Rex Bohn to serve as a county representative for the California Cannabis Authority (CCA) Tuesday following 5th District Supervisor Steve Madrone’s decision to resign from the appointment. Bohn will represent Humboldt County for the CCA alongside county Treasurer-Tax Collector John Bartholomew.
“The CCA is a Joint Power Authority created by contract between counties with cannabis regulatory or taxing authority,” according to the staff report. “The purpose of the organization is to develop and manage a statewide data platform that will gather, collect, and analyze information from a myriad of data sources into one resource, to help local governments ensure cannabis regulatory compliance and also provide necessary information to financial institutions that wish to work with the cannabis industry.”
Bohn emphasized the need for “more unity” between counties and the Department of Cannabis Control to deliver an across-the-board approach to cannabis taxation.
“I would do it. I mean, it’s not like I don’t have enough committees or anything else. But, I think, after watching yesterday and the importance of getting a focused across the board situation so everybody is on the same page (is important),” he said, referring to the board’s decision to slash the county’s cannabis cultivation tax Monday.
Bartholomew noted that he has served on the CCA “since before it was established as an organization” but questioned whether the $28,000 annual membership was really worth it.
“Data can be tracked from Humboldt County and thereby make the platform that CCA offers useful for county operations and understanding of what’s happening within the cannabis industry here in Humboldt County. Unless the county is going to do that, I don’t know that there’s a lot of value in staying active with the CCA because it’s costing I think $28,000 a year,” he said. “I hate to say this because I’ve been a huge supporter of CCA since the beginning. …I think the county should decide if operators will be required to participate on the CCA platform or not. If not, your board should make a decision for what kind of value the CCA is really providing to the county.”
Bohn made a motion to sit on the board in the meantime. Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson offered a second.
Madrone agreed and encouraged the board to consider a future agenda item regarding future CCA membership.
“The main reason (other counties) are involved, as I understand it, is because they use it as an enforcement tool in terms of trying to use the metric data to figure out if farmers are reporting accurately or not,” he said. “Frankly, it does nothing for enforcement, for compliance, or unlicensed applicants because that’s not the way it’s set up and it costs $28,000 a year for the county to be involved in this and we get very little value out of that.”
County Administrative Officer Elishia Hayes said staff could bring back an agenda item to reevaluate the board’s involvement with the CCA at a future date. “Supervisor Madrone and I did discuss this yesterday and given the reductions to the excise tax revenues, this can also be incorporated into the budget process as well,” she said.
During public comment, Natalynne DeLapp, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, expressed her support for Bohn’s appointment to the CCA and asked whether it would be possible for California counties involved with the CCA to negotiate a lower cost for membership. DeLapp also thanked the board for approving tax relief for cannabis cultivators.
The board ultimately voted 4-1, with Madrone dissenting for an unknown reason, to appoint Bohn to the CCA.
Isabella Vanderheiden | Reporter
Isabella Vanderheiden covers Humboldt County government, environment and cannabis news for the Times-Standard. Isabella earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Humboldt State University and has written for several Humboldt County news outlets.