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Nevada County grow advocates see progress in cottage licenses

This week’s passage of a cottage marijuana cultivation bill is a win for Nevada County grow advocates, who say the new law will create a level playing field.

Assembly Bill 2516, approved Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown, creates a cultivation license for smaller grows under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. The smallest grow before its passage allowed up to 50 plants or a 5,000-square-foot grow. The cottage grow license allows up to 25 plants or 2,500-square-foot grows.

“It’s a big deal for us,” said Jonathan Collier, chairman of the Nevada County chapter of the California Growers Association.



According to Collier, the smaller grow license will help protect family grows from larger, corporate cannabis cultivators because of an anticipated tiered tax rate. As tax regulations are developed, they’ll be scaled to an operation’s size.

“That’s why it’s really important,” Collier added.




Those taxes and fees will come from both state and local governments.

Cultivators opposed a bill that would have set a flat tax rate for grows, arguing the reason for a tiered licensing system was to scale the tax rates according to the size of the grow. Collier hopes the Legislature in the near future will develop those scaled tax rates.

“When we have conversations with the county, we would hope to have something similar,” Collier said.

Nevada County supervisors have said they’ll form a marijuana regulation advisory committee after the Nov. 8 election. That committee will develop recommendations for a permanent grow ordinance.

Collier said he wants those regulations to include local permitting fees for Nevada County growers that would resemble the tiered level the Legislature will create.

“As this industry moves forward, we need to make sure that all farmers, regardless of size, can come into compliance — that’s what success looks like,” said Assemblyman Jim Wood, the sponsor of AB 2516, in a release.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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