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Calaveras Supes Pass Funding Package To Cover Cannabis Industry Costs

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San Andreas, CA – Budget transfers cobbled together to fund Calaveras County’s commercial cannabis industry made it through the board of supervisors with a vote to spare.

While an earlier 3-2 board vote replaced the county’s ban on commercial cannabis with a much stricter regulatory ordinance, the supervisors failed twice in the past few weeks to get a four-fifths vote majority approving an operating budget for the county’s proposed Division of Cannabis Control. Gary Tofanelli and Dennis Mills, supervisors for Districts 1 and 3, continued to be the holdouts.

While both also voted against allowing the legal commercial marijuana back into the county, now that that ordinance is in effect and application fees will begin being collected next Monday, Tofanelli shared conflicting feelings over his described dire concerns about the proposed operating budget.

Among the regular agenda items for Tuesday’s meeting was a staff recommendation for the board to direct the Auditor-Controller to post a series of budget transfers that would secure the needed monies to begin funding regulatory operations not from the General Fund but from specifically related department budgets. It was not lost on Tofanelli or Mills that the transfer proposal only required a three-fifths vote to pass.

The transfers specifically included $13,500 in funding from the County Administrator’s Office, $11,749 from Code Compliance, $71,783 from County Counsel’s Office, $89,844 from the county’s insurance budget and $11,315 from the Office of Emergency Services.

While Mills was quick to say he would be consistent in voting “no,” Tofanelli acknowledged that he felt pressure to vote differently since the ordinance was now a done deal and less than a week from being implemented. He said he felt the staff’s recommendation was innovative, “very well thought out,” and provided the ways and means to move forward.

“We have to give staff the tools they need to implement any ordinance the board passes,” Tofanelli said. “ He added that while his vote was not needed for the motion to pass — and that he was not caving in on his position — he acknowledged, “I am looking at what is fair to staff.”

The motion to approve the transfers, made by District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway and seconded by District 5 Supervisor Benjamin Stopper passed 4-1 with Mills’ lone vote in dissent.

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