Voters OK pot and hotel taxes


San Benito voters approved Measure C on Tuesday,with 58 percent in favor of setting up a tax structure for future expansion of the county’s budding cannabis business into unincorporated San Benito County.

With citizens of Hollister and San Juan Bautista excluded from the vote, the county voters passed not only a tax plan but also gave their tacit approval for the approval of recreational cannabis manufacturing and growth.

The San Benito County Board of Supervisors, who had the legislative power to approve the measure, instead put it to the voters, making the vote on taxes a referendum on whether the county’s unincorporated citizens desired the expand the cannabis industry.

Measure B passed with 52 percent, raising the transient occupancy tax, a tax on hotel rooms, from 8 percent to 12 percent within the county’s unincorporated area.  The increased revenue is expected to go towards law enforcement, fire services, economic development, roads, and other government functions.

The race for County Supervisor Fourth District will be between Jim Gillio and Jerry Muenzer, who pulled 44 percent and 22 percent of the vote respectively. Rob Bernosky polled 15 percent, Sandy Swint got 11 percent, and Elia Salinas earned 6 percent of the vote.

In the race for the County Supervisor seat in the Third District, Patricia Loe and Peter Hernandez will face off in November. Loe came in first with 46 percent, while Hernandez pulled 31 percent. Richard Perez Sr came in third, with 22 percent.

The county incumbent Sheriff/Coroner, Darren Thompson cruised to victory, defeating his challenger, Bill Hutchinson, with 70 percent of votes.

In the race for Treasurer/Tax Collector Public Administrator, Melinda Casillas soundly defeated Jaime De La Cruz, with 71 percent of the vote, compared to Cruz’s 29 percent.

The race for Superior Court Judge was a nailbiter. Gregory Michael Laforge came in first with 28 percent, but the race for second, between Jose “Omar” Rodriguez, came down to a few dozen votes, with Rodriguez capturing 1597 votes to Henderson’s 1559, with 100 percent of the vote in.


  1. This article says 100% of the vote is in, but according to the San Benito Elections department, only about half of the ballots that were cast and received by mail are counted. 6710 were counted in this article’s “100%” total, but according to Michael J. Parsons, Information Systems Deputy at San Benito County Clerk-Auditor-Recorder-Elections (C-A-R-E), as of today, 5000-6000 have been received and are still not counted, plus more ballots will be received in the mail through Friday afternoon that will also then be counted. The Election site will update the tally of votes on Friday and will also update the number of yet-to-be-counted ballots that were received through Friday’s deadline. Therefore, this article fails at the truth and earns itself this tag: #FAKENEWS

  2. This is not a vote in favor of allowing cultivation in San Benito County, this is only a vote approving the taxing of marijuana should cultivation become legal. They are 2 separate issues.
    See article on May 10 by Mr. Stoepfel:
    “The passage of Measure C will not legalize recreational cannabis sales, cultivation, and manufacturing in the county. Should the measure pass, the county will have a tax structure in place before supervisors decide whether to approve sales or cultivation of recreational cannabis in rural San Benito County.”
    I think it would be a good idea for the county to have a regulatory structure in place should the BOS decide to approve anything.

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