Let’s call medical marijuana dispensaries what they are: big canabusiness. Their interest is big profit, low regulation, and fooling nice, well-meaining city council people and citizens, even those who are pro-marijuana legalization, into believing this is all about compassion.
Please. I can go get medical marijuana right now because my feet hurt from standing here before you in high heels. I can get a recommendation from a doctor online in Santa Maria, take it to a dispensary and get my ounce of pot. You are not being compassionate in allowing dispensaries. You are being fooled. This is about money.
Don’t be fooled by cannabusiness. They invented the dispensary business, and they want to keep prices artificially high, and actually prevent Californians from growing their own medical marijuana, either personally, or within a collective, under a doctor’s supervision. That is what is allowed by state law. Nothing in state law mentions the word dispensary, nor authorizes it.
If pro-marijuana legalization advocates would stop and think about it for a moment, they would realize that canabusiness forces are actually against legalization, which is up on the state ballot in 2010. Canabusiiness owners don’t want you growing your own pot, or working with a collective. They want you to buy it from them! They’re actually against legalization because the state will likely shut down the dispensary business in favor of some other model for distribution and regulation. Pot shop owners are operating in a nice legal haze currently and they want that to keep right on going. Legalization is against the interest of dispensary owners because it will virtually stop the rampant profiteering that is currently going on.
State law provides for marijuana use under a doctor’s recommendation for pain relief for the seriously ill. Pain caused by high heels or writer’s cramp is not seriously ill. Cities attempting to allow dispensaries are actually going beyond what state law intended, and this is just what the canabusiness owners want you to do. Sanction them to operate in your city.
Ask yourselves, did you mean to do this? Did we mean to become, as a city, a community of pot shops and dispensaries, legal or otherwise? Is this really preserving the heritage and uniqueness of Santa Barbara? Did we mean to expose our children and our neighborhoods to this? To those representing the canabusiness groups who say nothing has happened yet, not so. Kids are getting pot from dispensaries. Schools are dealing with it on their campuses. Armed robberies are going down in LA – 16 in the past 2 weeks, with 2 shootings. We’ve had an armed extortion here. Bad things ARE happening. Did we mean to bring dispensaries to Santa Barbara and overrun our city? I don’t think any citizen here that voted for the ordinance meant for this outcome to happen. We all thought pharmacies would handle it. They won’t because the feds have not legalized it.
Other cities across the state ARE doing something about this. LA is looking at banning dispensaries outright, closing them all down, and they’ve got 800+! They’re looking at forcing a collective model, where patients register and work within a collective to grow their own. They’re looking at limiting the number of patients any collective could work with, perhaps even to 5. This would gut the profit-potential in the current canabusiness landscape, which is a good thing, and serves compassion without engaging in profiteering, or going beyond state law.
Danny Kato is a great guy, and he’s good with drawing maps. But I can’t ask him to bone up on customs law to decide whether it’s legal for a dispensary to sell Afghanistan hashish. I can’t ask him or the City Attorney to familarize themselves with US Agriculture Department laws on growing so they can regulate growers. I can’t ask the planning department to get a handle on doctors, who can recommend it, and how much they can recommend. Even the American Medical Association won’t do this. In short, to support the canabusiness owners in allowing dispensaries asks cities to take on a regulatory burden that is beyond their purview and capabilities. It’s like asking the Parking Department to figure out Insterstate commerce. It can’t be done from looking at zoning maps.
Even Amsterdam, where marijuana, along with prostitution, is fully legal, the Dutch have tighter rules around possession and proximity to children than anything on the books in Santa Barbara. If we can’t even be better than Amsterdam, then what are we doing?
IN an election year, when this city council seems very beholden to the interests of cannabusiness, when this could well become such a big election issue that would make discussions on bulb-outs and building heights seem like schoogirl arguments over very small, provincial matters, think carefully about your stance on this issue before you side yet again with big canabusiness. Don’t be afraid to be called a conservative, Republican, uncompassionate meanie simply because you don’t want to support big canabusiness.