Yes to Measure A

Ethan Woelbern , Features Editor

Art by Phoebe Vo

Out of all the issues on the ballot, Measure A stands out as a no-brainer to vote yes on. 

Measure A will tax cannabis businesses in the unincorporated counties of San Diego, which includes areas like Ramona, Fallbrook and Valley Center that aren’t governed by their own municipal governments. This tax would generate anywhere from $2.9-$5.6 million for the County General Fund, which would contribute to funding for the public school system and regulating Cannabis within San Diego county. 

With the legalization of Marajuana in 2018 for the areas within San Diego County, unincorporated areas also saw a boost in the production of illegal marajuana. 2021 was littered with mostly smaller illegal marajuana cases  yet included some larger operations such as one where over 15,000 plants or $7.5 million in illegal marajuana was seized in rural Valley Center. San Diego County Board members have been hesitant to allow both medical and recreational marajuana dispensaries in these areas due to economic and moral reasons, causing many users to turn to illegal methods of obtaining marijuana. 

This has led to problems for both the users and these unincorporated counties. The people are more susceptible to low quality strains of marajuana that can cause harmful side effects. Some have also been exposed to marajuana that has been sprayed with carcinogenic pesticides. The county has devoted a lot of time and effort into protecting these areas from the spreading of illegal marajuana. Raids must be conducted on illegal operations: over 70 people have been incarcerated for the illegal selling of marajuana since 2019. After raids are completed, these sites must then be cleaned out and monitored in case growers return. All of these things take away from police funding and resources which could be used to protect their communities more directly if not for these issues. With Measure A, San Diego County board members seem to be taking their first steps towards addressing this issue. The money made from these taxes will be used for communal services like parks, education and medical services but also to provide the police additional funding to combat illegal pot shops. To be clear, this is a business tax– not a tax on the customer. The business or retailer will have to pay a certain amount of money in taxes depending on their gross receipts with maximums reaching 6% for retail, 3% for cultivation and 3% for distribution. These costs may still affect customers however since prices can be adjusted to account for losses, however these costs are going towards creating a safer environment for marajuana usage. This funding as well will not be dispersed through California but will instead be used straight within San Diego county. 

The issue also seems to be bipartisan with East County Republicans and the City of San Diego Democrats both agreeing with the terms of the measure.

I urge those who can vote to vote in favor of Measure A. It is a simple and effective solution to the ongoing illegal marajuana issue that has infected San Diego county for far too long.