Downtown businesses ponder pot questions

The debate over the June 5 vote on Measure C—a tax on cannabis production outside of San Benito County’s two cities—unofficially kicked off Apr. 25 at the quarterly meeting of the Hollister Downtown Association.

At the gathering at Paine’s restaurant in Hollister, a panel included Victor Gomez, the President of Pinnacle Consulting who also is managing the “Yes on Measure C” campaign; Sean Kali-rai, president of the Silicon Valley Cannabis Alliance; county Cannabis Affairs Manager Maria Mendez, and Hollister Police Department Lieutenant Dan Winn.

Gomez and Kali-rai took the most questions, as Measure C dominated the question-and-answer period of the meeting. Several members of the community, including members of the Committee to Protect San Benito County—which opposes the cannabis tax—were skeptical of expanding the influence of cannabis in the region. Attendees who left the gathering were greeted with No on Measure C cards on their car windshields.

“For business owners, we need to decide what we’re going to buy, and when you’re talking to investors, is this what you want the county to be?” said Jack Kirk. “Some of us who live in the county do not want greenhouses next to us which will bring down our property value. We don’t want the traffic that comes from the trimmers who work there either. We need to decide, because once that money comes in, they will want to be in control.”

Measure C is the county-wide, unincorporated-area, cannabis tax proposal, where voters of unincorporated San Benito County, not those who don’t live in Hollister or San Juan Bautista, will decide to impose a tax on various cannabis businesses. Recreational cannabis became legal in California Jan.1, and medical marijuana has been legal since 1996, with individual municipalities given the right to ban, regulate and tax the new industry.

The vote will not determine whether cannabis business of any kind will be allowed in unincorporated San Benito County, but if the county decides to go ahead and allow cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, etc., a mechanism will be in place to collect the tax.

“Hollister is critical to the industry, like San Carlos, who passed everything but retail; but nobody is going there because the land is too expensive,” Kali-rai said.

Kali-rai laid out of a vision of Hollister, San Benito, and Monterey Counties building on their agricultural legacies in becoming the place to grow and process a new kind of crop, cannabis. With available land, the proximity to key transportation hubs, and the longstanding agricultural know-how, Kali-rai warned that if San Benito County is not ready for it, the cannabis industry would go elsewhere.

“There is about $105 million in sales in San Jose a year with 30 to 50 percent growth this year,” Kali-rai said. “This area does what it does best, and that’s not retail, it’s agriculture, and if it’s not allowed here, it will go somewhere else.”

1 COMMENT

  1. MEASURE C HAS HIDDEN INGREDIENTS UNDER ITS LABEL.

    Measure C’s primary goal seems to be to trick voters in San Benito County into voting to overturn the County Ban on Commercial Marijuana Cultivation next to Rural Homes and Neighborhoods – without telling you that is what you would be voting for!

    Deceptive Measure C was submitted without a CON argument, but it SHOULD have told you that Measure C will have Majorly Negative Impacts on:
    – Public Safety, Environment, Air Quality, Property Values, Water Supply, Neighborhood Safety and Quality of Life.
    – It is being funded by OUT OF THE AREA marijuana trade groups and growers

    MEASURE C IS A SNEAKY CON that aims to pull the wool over the eyes of County residents, and it has a secret punchline:
    “You thought you were voting for a tax? Well you actually just voted to allow commercial marijuana farms next to your home.” It’s not funny.

    Measure C claims to provide funds for public safety, BUT the truth is that it will CREATE massive THREATS to Public Safety! Don’t be Fooled, Vote NO on Measure C!

    Last FALL, a BAN was passed that FINALLY shut down commercial marijuana farms across the County. These grows were neighborhood nuisances, caused major public safety impacts, and were associated with other criminal activity in the area.

    If Measure C passes, Supervisors say that residents are fine with allowing commercial marijuana cultivation just 150 feet from their homes. In the Freelance, Mark Medina is quoted in the Freelance as saying: “If we put this on the June ballot, we will have buy-in from our residents…” They are using this measure to get your buy-in to open back up the County to major commercial marijuana grows.

    Do we really want to go from being a Lettuce Bowl to being a stench-filled Marijuana Bowl? Is this what we want for San Benito County??? In Greenfield, people are now being driven out of their homes they have been in for 20+ years by the overwhelming stench from marijuana cultivation facilities with filtration systems similar to those proposed by our Supervisors. http://www.ksbw.com/article/marijuana-farms-stinking-up-greenfield/20109057

    MEASURE C DOESN’T ADD UP
    – Other Counties have found that Big Marijuana doesn’t live up to its promises.
    – The costs have far outpaced marijuana industry lobbyists’ promises of revenue, and the base tax rate proposed in Measure C is even LOWER than neighboring Counties!
    – There is an over-abundance of Commercial Marijuana already being produced in California and prices have tumbled over the past year, and now barely even cover their cost of production.
    – How will this already oversaturated market benefit San Benito County? The Answer is: IT WON’T.

    From one neighbor to another, please:
    – Protect our Property Values & Quality of Life
    – Keep our Community & Neighborhoods Safe
    – Keep our, environment Environment and Air Clean!

    And VOTE NO ON MEASURE C! Please Also Tell All Your Friends to VOTE NO ON MEASURE C!

    For more info on why you should VOTE NO ON C, visit http://www.facebook.com/drugfreesbc or http://www.gofundme.com/vote-no-on-c

    Please note: Voting NO ON C will not impact personal access to marijuana or Prop 64. This is strictly about banning commercial marijuana cultivation in the County, next to our homes.

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