AN ACT TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR FARMERS IMPACTED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC TO TRANSITION TO PRODUCTION OF ALTERNATE CROPS.
Directs the State Controller to transfer $50 million for 2019-20 from the Coronavirus Relief Reserve to the Coronavirus Relief Fund (Fund). Appropriates $50 million in nonrecurring funds for 2019-20 from the Fund to the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) to be allocated and used as provided in this act. Specifies that the funds remain available to expend until December 30, 2020.
Requires that the funds be allocated to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Department) to provide grants to eligible farmers for eligible expenses associated with offsetting economic impacts of the COVID-19 emergency by conversion of farm production to production of marijuana for medical use. Defines an eligible expense as the purchase or lease of equipment needed for planting, cultivation, harvest, or on-farm processing of marijuana; chemicals, fertilizers, or other soil supplements or treatments needed to prepare or maintain the suitability of farmland for the cultivation of marijuana; and the costs of filing applications for and maintaining licenses needed for the cultivation, harvest, or on-farm processing of marijuana for medical use. Defines eligible farmer as a person with a qualifying farmer sales tax exemption or conditional qualifying farmer sales tax exemption whose average annual income from farming operations for the three preceding taxable years does not exceed $200,000.
Allows the funds to only be used: (1) for purposes consistent with the April 22, 2020, "Coronavirus Relief Fund Guidance for State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal Governments" provided by the US Department of the Treasury or with any subsequent revised guidance or act of Congress and (2) if H401, or other substantially equivalent legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for medical use in this state becomes law.
Requires the Department to report to the specified NCGA committee and division by August 1, 2020, on its distribution of the funds and by February 1, 2020, on the use of funds by recipients.
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