Previously pot-friendly Calaveras County has reversed course and banned commercial marijuana farms, paving the way for lawsuits from growers who used to receive permits and pay taxes.
A newly constituted Calaveras County Board of Supervisors last week voted 3-2 to ban marijuana, giving some 200 farmers with permits about three months to wind down operations. The vote to ban occurred less than a month after the state authorized retail sales of marijuana for recreational use in cities and counties that approve of pot operations within their borders.
Calaveras County growers with permits said Wednesday they are planning to sue. Each permit cost $5,000 and the county has collected more than $7 million in taxes from marijuana growers since 2016.
The economically struggling county of 44,000 residents in rural Northern California initially embraced legalized marijuana as a way to generate revenue and recover from a devastating 2015 wildfire that displaced hundreds of residents and businesses. The county used some of the marijuana tax to hire additional police and staff.