Creighton Avila is a Deputy Adminstrative Officer for El Dorado County (EDC) and spoke to us in his role as Director of the Commercial Cannabis Program for the county.  Creighton lived in North Carolina for 9 years and moved to EDC in 2014.  He touched on some of the history of cannabis in EDC, including that there have been five medicinal cannabis dispensaries since 2011 that were allowed to operate, but were not permitted; and that today there are approximately 2000 illegal grows of cannabis in the county.
 
After considerable study of what worked and did not work in other counties, 5 ballot measures were drafted and passed by significant margins in 2018.  These ballot measured set down the guidelines for taxation, permitting and enforcement of commercial cannabis activities such as cultivation, retail sale, manufacturing, lab testing, and distribution  of both medicinal cannabis and recreational use cannabis.  Tax rates have been defined for all of these situations ranging from 0.5% of gross receipts for testing laboratories to 4% on gross receipts for retail establishments.  Fees for applying for permits are substantial, so there is a pre-application fee of $1,480, which can help the applicant understand what they need to do to pass the final permit application process.  The fees for some of those permits include $7,284 for cultivation, $4,642 for retailers, distribution, and testing labs; and $6,445 for a manufacturer. 
 
The review of applications includes in-depth background checks on the applicants.   The fees will help pay for things such as enforcement of legal vs. illegal grows.  The county plans to contract with a company that uses satellite images and AI software to identify marijuana grows.  EDC will be the second county after Humboldt to use this technology to aid enforcement. 
 
 
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