In the past few months, several Calaveras County elected representatives have cited anecdotal evidence to justify their stances and policy wishes against commercial cannabis. Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence does not paint a complete and accurate picture of the situation. Publicly available voting data from the 2016 election gives us a better view: extremes on either side of the cannabis issue are not supported by the voters of this county.

On Measure B, there are those that believe Measure B would have let voters have their say on a ban, however, voters already did this through the Measure C vote last November (and, to a lesser extent, Measure D and Proposition 64). Going to the ballot again is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer resources.

The only mandate that has come down from the voters is a taxed and regulated commercial cannabis industry: Measure C. Taxing regulated and permitted cannabis businesses received 15,302 “Yes” votes, more votes than any of the other 19 initiatives on the ballot and more votes than for the president of the United States. Over 50 percent of all registered voters in the county supported it, a level that is rare when voter turnout is considered. It was favored by more voters in every district than the supervisors themselves. The only supervisor to receive nearly as much support as Measure C was Jack Garamendi, who trailed Measure C by less than 2 percent of registered voters and who is openly in favor of regulating and taxing cannabis businesses. Measure C is also supported by the Calaveras County sheriff.

The results for Districts 4 and 5 are especially noteworthy. Supervisor Mills won his seat with support from approximately 29 percent of the registered voters in District 4. Supervisor Clapp won with approximately 20 percent of the registered voters in District 5. Both supervisors received fewer votes than any of the three pro-cannabis propositions in their districts. Supervisor-elect Mills campaigned heavily against Measure D – yet the measure still received approximately 500 more votes than he did, in his own district.

When we look at this data, we see that no supervisor can rightly claim that their district supports a total ban, but every district does clearly support a tax-and-regulate system for cannabis businesses. Pushing any other agenda is contrary to what the voters in this county, and all the districts in it, have already stated they want. The ban alternative has already been decided. The people of Calaveras County want to find common ground, and no member of the Board of Supervisors should be pushing an extreme agenda – whether they are pro-cannabis or pro-ban.

Jeremy Carlson

Calaveras Little Trees

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