Cannabis Distributors: Information on Collecting and Paying the Cultivation Tax

Cannabis Distributors: Information on Collecting and Paying the Cultivation Tax

As a licensed cannabis distributor (excluding transport-only distributors), you are required to collect the cultivation tax from cultivators, manufacturers, or other distributors based on the weight and category of the cannabis. The distributor who conducts the final quality assurance review after the cannabis or cannabis product passes the required testing is the distributor responsible for reporting and paying the cultivation tax to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). The cultivation tax must be reported during the reporting period in which the cannabis or cannabis product passes the required testing and quality assurance review, which is when the cannabis or cannabis product enters the commercial market.

In instances where there are multiple distributors and/or manufacturers involved, the associated cultivation tax collected will follow the cannabis or cannabis product and must be passed to the next licensee in the transaction until the cannabis or cannabis product reaches the distributor conducting the final quality assurance review. Each party to the transaction, from the original sale from the cultivator, to the final sale or transfer to the distributor, is relieved of its liability for the cultivation tax by receiving a proper receipt for payment of the cultivation tax from the next party in the transaction.

This email is intended to give you an overview of some of the requirements for cannabis distributors and does not address all requirements for the cannabis industry. We encourage you to read our online Tax Guide for Cannabis Businesses, or contact us at

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