Gov. Jerry Brown announced on Tuesday that California lawmakers have agreed upon a $125 billion-dollar budget deal that would increase payments for doctors and dentists, increase safety net programs and increase tax credits for lower income households. Sen. Mike McGuire’s Cannabis Budget Trailer Bill is included in the budget and was released on June 12.
The trailer bill would “Enhance environmental rules and regulations, including creating an organic standards program for cannabis; Create a North Coast simplified office for tax and license collections which will be fully staffed; Implement appellations for cannabis growing regions; Recognize agricultural co-ops for cannabis growers, protecting small time growers [and] Preserve the ability for cities and counties to maintain local control and regulation of cannabis businesses.”
The bill was co-sponsored by Assemblymember Jim Wood and other North Coast area supporters. Four counties in the North Coast area the powerhouse behind about 60 percent of the nation’s entire cannabis supply. “The North Coast is driving the conversation,” Sen. McGuire stated. About $100 million will go toward preparations for cannabis sales to adults over 21.
McGuire hopes that the North Coast will have a fully staffed licensing and tax office by July 2018. “There have been major steps taken over the past two years that are completely transforming the cannabis industry, and while there is still a lot of work to be done including the implementation of the electronic cannabis tax system, this budget bill ensures Californians health and safety is priory number one and environmental protections are at the forefront of every decision,” Senator McGuire added.
Apart from cannabis-related spending, the budget includes many provisions for lower income families. When bonds and special funds are factored in, the budget comes out to $183 million. More people will be eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit and dental and eyeglass benefits for those who were cut from Medi-Cal. “This budget keeps California on a sound fiscal path and continues to support struggling families and make investments in our schools,” Brown said in a statement. The Senate and Assembly will vote on Thursday, which is the last possible day for a vote.