Monica Senter: Measure G is a testament to the democratic process
Most folks agree these days that politics are so divisive that it is a rare opportunity to vote on something we all agree on.
In Nevada County, we are seeing come contentious political races; whether it’s the race for congressional representative or who sits on the NID board or Grass Valley City Council or who becomes our next Sheriff. As is to be expected during election season, people are taking sides and some races could be closer than is comfortable. In the national trend toward highlighting political differences, Nevada County is no different, with one exception.
Yes, it’s true. The Nevada County ballot has one item that most everyone seems to agree on. And even more astounding, it’s a tax measure. Measure G is a tax measure that most folks in Nevada County find to be a good idea.
For those not following the local cannabis regulation movement, Measure G is one of the numerous milestones that must be met in order to implement regulations for commercial cannabis activity in Nevada County. Measure G provides for taxation of the commercial cannabis cultivation business. The initial tax rate is set at a reasonable rate which will afford licensed cannabis farmers a better ability to compete with other farmers across the state. In the context of the statewide cannabis industry, the initial tax rate proposed in Measure G is among the best in the State. For comparison, the rate for Oakland producers is 4 times higher than what is proposed in Measure G, which starts at 2.5 percent.
If you take a moment to look, you will see that both local political parties (Republicans and Democrats) have published voter guides urging a Yes vote on Measure G. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the ballot measure and the Nevada Cannabis County Alliance directly partnered with Nevada County officials to ensure the ballot measure to tax cannabis businesses represents a balance between the needs of the county to pay for a permitting program with what cannabis farmers need to be competitive. There have been no apparent opposition efforts to defeat Measure G.
The benefits to the community are obvious; revenue for the county and the opportunity for cannabis farmers to contribute to the local tax base. But more importantly, Measure G marks a significant shift in Nevada County on the topic of cannabis. Our County has struggled with presence of cannabis in our community with concerns about negative impacts to youth, health, safety, property values etc. Others express struggles with the cultural impacts and many others highlight the importance of economic and environmental impacts of cannabis. As one of the County Supervisors observed earlier this year, whether folks like it or not, cannabis activity is happening in Nevada County and ignoring that fact is not solving any problems. Accepting the reality of the cannabis legalization movement and embracing the economic opportunity in a county lacking in economic opportunity is the smart thing to do.
In today’s contentious political environment, Nevada County citizens should be proud of Measure G; it represents smart compromise that is the result of good government and considerable engagement by community members from all perspectives. In a time when people easily find things they don’t agree on, it’s quite the accomplishment that we can all agree on anything and in this case, we agree both to taxes and to legitimize cannabis businesses.
Let’s consider this episode in local politics a win and as a reminder that things sure can change in a short period of time, even if it feels like a long time.
Monica Senter, a Nevada County resident, and a member of The Union Editorial Board. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the board or its members. She can be reached at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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