Six Reasons to Vote No on Measure A, the “Marijuana Hypocrisy Tax” COMMENTARY: Alcohol is far more harmful than cannabis. A 10% tax on grapes & wineries would yield far more money for the County. But that will never happen.

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Alcohol is far more harmful than cannabis. A 10% tax on grapes & wineries would yield far more money for the County. But that will never happen. Why, then, should we force the emerging cannabis industry into a huge tax and regulatory environment that would penalize local small growers, force many underground, and escalate the unwanted police, prison and probation war on marijuana?

Here are six compelling grassroots  reasons why voters–and their friends and families–should vote AGAINST  Sonoma County’s Measure A, the Marijuana Hypocrisy Tax,  before or on March 7:

  1. 1. Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and should be treated, regulated and taxed like wine. The unspoken truth is that cannabis will ALREADY  be taxed like alcohol, from the existing 9 to 9.5% sales tax (which fills the coffers of local, county and state government). In addition, legal cannabis businesses, like wineries, will pay real estate, corporate, income and payroll  taxes just like every other normal businesses.  There is no rationale for forcing those in this embryonic, fast growing, jobs creating industry to be singled out and taxed extra.
  2.  Hypocrisy busting time: Imagine a 10% tax on hundreds of millions of grape growers across the County. And a tax on the billion dollar wine industry. This would raise at least ten times the $6 million which Measure A aims to collect. Yet we know that our Supervisors would never even discuss placing such a measure on the ballot. One explanation for this double standard: hypocrisy. 
  3. Protect the civil liberties for ALL of us. The public supports legalization:  about 60% of Sonoma County voters cast their ballots for full legalization last November. We, the People, want Sheriff Dept. SWAT teams to bust down fewer doors and terrorize and imprison fewer of our neighbors, not more of them. 
  4. The public deserves a peace dividend in the war on marijuana, not more war! This tax is intended to increase “public safety”funding  of arcane new regulations This translates into more arrests of non violent purveyors of cannabis, the true victims of the victimless crime of marijuana than before.   Enough already! Growers want cannabis to be treated like grapes and agriculture, subject to civil fines and inspections, not militarized raids and outrageous asset forfeiture laws. The public deserves a peace dividend that we expect to follow the endless escalation of prison, probation and police costs for victimless marijauna related crimes, not more reasons for OUR government  to bust our fellow Americans.
  5. The way this got on the ballot, in a few days without any time for opposition statements , represents sleazy backroom County Supervisor politics at its worse.  When was the last time we saw a measure make it to the ballot without an opposition statement?  The Sonoma County Grower’s Alliance and its members overwhelmingly oppose Measure A but never had time to submit an opposition statement.  This suspicious process alone is sufficient reason to vote against this Marijuana Hypocrisy Tax. 
  6. Taxes like those imposed in Measure A defy the widely shared objective that Sonoma County citizens have to support  locally owned small businesses. Only large cannabis agribusiness corporations will be able to afford the high taxes, accountants and lawyers that it will take to comply with the Marijuana Hypocrisy Tax.  Small local farmers will be driven underground, where their “noncompliance” will lead them into the armored jaws of our criminal injustice system. This is the opposite of what We, the People, voted for last November, or want to see happen next.

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Jonathan Greenberg

Jonathan Greenberg is the editor and publisher of the award winning Sonoma Independent, which he founded in 2015 to serve the public interest with insight, solutions and advocacy.

In January, 2024, Jonathan launched the StopTrumpDictatorship.com Project to create and market compelling YouTube ads, as well as the Progressive Source PAC to fund them. The effort’s first project was the Dems Vote Haley in SC video, which was viewed 400,000 times in blue counties, contributing to Haley outperforming polls by 10 points.

Jonathan has been an investigative legal and financial journalist with 40 years of experience contributing to national publications. During the past six years, Jonathan wrote four of the most widely-read exposes in the Washington Post about Donald Trump. Jonathan has known Trump longer than any journalist writing today. He was head of research for the first Forbes 400 when Trump conned him into putting him on the list. The notorious phone calls Trump taped pretending to be John Barron was the subject of monologues on Colbert, the Daily Show and Seth Meyers. Jonathan has appeared live on more than a dozen major news shows, including on CNN with Erin Burnett, Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo, on MSNBC with Ari Berber and Ali Velshi, and NPR's On the Media.

Jonathan was a Web 1.0 pioneer. In 1996 he started Gist Communications, a disruptive new media company that competed successfully with News Corp’s TV Guide Online. In 1997, Gist was one of just 14 websites in the world to be named a winner of the First Annual Webby Awards in San Francisco. Following Gist and the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Jonathan served, in 2002 and 2003, as Policy Director for the New York City Council’s Select Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment, where he directed media and public policy campaigns and was the city council’s lead analyst for federal relief programs.

In 2007, Jonathan founded Progressive Source Communications, a public interest digital advocacy company that has created scores of impactful videos and campaigns to build awareness of solutions that serve the common good. Progressive Source owns the Sonoma Independent.

Jonathan is a graduate of Yale Law School's Masters Degree in Law fellowship program. A fuller bio and links to Jonathan's work can be found at JonathanGreenberg.com.

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