Opinion » Shredder

Compassion, anyone?

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I sure wouldn’t want to be a medical marijuana patient living in Arroyo Grande. The city’s just taken another step to deny sick people access to their medication. 

In a Dec. 1 memorandum, Community Development Director Teresa McClich, Assistant City Attorney David Hirsch, and Police Chief Steven Annibali urged the Planning Commission to adopt a resolution to deny cultivation of marijuana along with rules already in place that deny brick-and-mortar dispensaries, cooperatives, and collectives, and mobile delivery of cannabis products.

Oh, you consume medical marijuana to mitigate your seizures? Too bad. But on the bright side, violent shaking is good exercise! What’s that? Marijuana is the only thing that relives your nausea and increases your appetite as you undergo chemo cancer treatment? So sad, but remember, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels! Um, what? Without marijuana you can’t see due to glaucoma? Seeing’s overrated. Close your eyes and imagine how nice AG will be without all you potheads.

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Yes, so much compassion! What’s up with that, Arroyo Grande? Well, the city’s trying to get ahead of the March 1, 2016, deadline before state law takes over. Any community that hasn’t created its own cultivation ordinances by March 1 will instead be governed by state regulations regarding medical marijuana, which by the way are pretty stringent in their own right … though apparently not stringent enough for AG.

Think of Arroyo Grande as one of those “dry counties,” where alcohol can’t be legally sold, except instead of alcohol, we’re talking about a legal medication prescribed to thousands of suffering patients. Seems pretty cruel … well, now wait a minute. This has got me thinking. If Arroyo Grande can get rid of dopers, maybe other cities can get rid of their “undesirables.” 

Maybe San Luis should outlaw Victoza®, the type 2 diabetes medication. That way sick, fat people will have to move elsewhere, leaving nothing but the young, fit, and healthy. Paso should outlaw Antabuse™, a medication to treat alcoholics, so that people who can’t drink wine can get the hell out of fancy pinkie-in-the-air town. Cambria can outlaw Zoloft®, an anti-depressant, so all the sad people have to move to SLO, the happiest place in America, which also forbids brick-and-mortar dispensaries but has plenty of mobile delivery services, which is why we’re so effin’ happy! Woo hoo!

Man, the possibilities are endless, except we don’t allow communities to decide which pharmaceutical medications are allowed in their midst, so why do we allow this type of micromanagement on medical cannabis?

Of course, the problem with denying medical marijuana businesses is that you’re also denying your community the economic benefits that come from them. Businesses that could have opened won’t. People who could have been employed won’t be. Taxes that could have been paid won’t be. Why? Because fear of marijuana still supersedes facts and common sense.

Did you hear about that kid who overdosed on marijuana? Me neither. In 2013, nearly 44,000 people died of drug overdoses. About 16,000 were from prescription analgesics. About 8,000 were from heroin. Exactly zero were from marijuana. ZERO! Alcohol-related annual deaths total about 88,000. 

Still, Arroyo Grande is apparently quaking in its boots over the thought of evil weed. Are they stuck in an endless loop of Reefer Madness? What are they going to do when recreational marijuana becomes legal next year? 

Of course, I have to admit there’s a very clear connection between marijuana and violence, but it’s due to prohibition, not the substance itself. One need only look at alcohol prohibition in the United States to see how prohibition breeds violence and crime while having no effect on the consumption of the prohibited substance. People still drank, but some died or went blind thanks to “bathtub gin” and moonshine. Vast criminal networks formed, funded by illegal alcohol sales, which they violently protected to keep the money rolling in.

Instead of continually driving marijuana use underground, it needs to be brought into the light. It needs to be regulated and taxed like alcohol and tobacco. Those who have abuse problems need to be offered the same sort of medical treatments as those addicted to booze and cigarettes.

But what about the children, you ask? Marijuana is a gateway drug precisely because it’s illegal. If you’re buying from a criminal, he or she might also try to sell you coke or ’shrooms—something that doesn’t happen at liquor stores or marijuana dispensaries. When Portugal decriminalized all drugs, use among youth went down! 

Let’s put the Mexican drug cartels out of business! Let’s release non-violent marijuana users from jails and prisons! Let’s stop targeting minority communities and stop policing them in ways white communities are never policed! Let’s stop the reefer madness and restore the sanity!

And for now, cities of SLO County, let’s try to remember the person with seizures, the chemo patient, and glaucoma sufferer, and instead of making it harder for them to get their medication under the specious argument of ‘public safety,’ let’s make it easier.

The Shredder treats a case of the munchies with a steady supply of your angry letters. Keep ’em coming. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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