Sonoma holding breath on cannabis

Despite its newly-legal status in California, cannabis remains a topic that runs long on controversy. Legal to some degree in 29 states and the District of Columbia, cannabis is nonetheless illegal at the federal level, and its industry generates vast sums of cash that cannot be legally banked.

Depending on perspective, it is a mild intoxicant with real medical applications or a dangerous Schedule-1 narcotic. Its legal production and operational costs are expressly forbidden as deductions by IRS code 280e, the only commercial enterprise singled out in federal tax code this way.

To say that everyone in America has not yet made up their mind about cannabis is to state the obvious. And in the crosshairs of this indecision are entrepreneurs like Jon Early.

Early, with a head of silver hair, seems more grandfatherly than counterculture. He is both vocal and guarded about his association with cannabis. He tends toward the acerbic, and can be bluntly plainspoken.

“We are days away from legal recreational cannabis in California, and nobody has a clue what to do. It’s a cluster-crunch,” Early said, adding with a wink, “I don’t want to use naughty words.”

Early represents a cohort known as Estados Nuevos, investors who own the buildings at 865-875 W. Napa St. where, until recently, the Annex Wine Bar and Community Café were located.



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