Judge Rules Against County in Measure S Lawsuit

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Last week, a local judge ruled that certain changes the County has made to Measure S conflict with the original ballot measure and must be reversed.

In short, the judge’s ruling was that 1) Measure S taxes must be collected on the cultivator, not the property owner, and 2) Measure S taxes must be collected on the actual area cultivated, not on the permitted area. This second ruling could apply to cultivators who chose not to plant but who were taxed regardless, or to cultivators who planted less than their permitted square footage.

The next step will be to see whether the County wants to appeal the decision: if the decision is appealed, the judge’s initial decision may not be implemented pending the result of the appeal. But if the County doesn’t appeal, or if they appeal and lose, it may initiate a process by which the County issues refunds to affected businesses from 2017, 2018, and 2019.

HCGA will continue to gather information on the court decision and will provide updates as we learn more. In the meantime, check out the following links for more information:

Coverage on the case from the Times-Standard

Coverage from Kym Kemp, including the full court decision

Link to the existing Humboldt Measure S tax code

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