Opinion » Letters

Supervisors got it right on marijuana dispensary

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After observing most of the public hearing—including staff presentation, public comment, and deliberation by the SLO County Board of Supervisors—I believe the majority made the right decision in upholding the appeal of the Planning Commission to allow the dispensary.

This is not about the health benefits of using marijuana, but rather public safety surrounding this brick and mortar location. Regardless of whether all  land use/zoning policies are met by the applicant, your elected leaders always have the discretionary authority to deny a project if the safety of the community is at risk. To not have used it in this case would have been irresponsible.

After listening to the testimony from the most respected law enforcement officials in our community—Sheriff Ian Parkinson, District Attorney Dan Dow, Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin among others—Supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson ignored the safety concerns and digressed to their ideological agendas.

Sheriff Parkinson was very clear about not having the resources to adequately service this area at the fringe of our county if a dispensary were to open. Chief Martin expressed his concern regarding the potential impacts of the dispensary being on the border of his city, and District Attorney Dow illuminated the significant prosecutorial challenges his department would face should this move forward. Every active or former law enforcement official that spoke, petitioned the board to hold off on allowing this use until the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) recently signed by the governor and due to take effect Jan. 1, 2016, is fully implemented with the necessary agencies, information systems, and regulations. However, Hill and Gibson were salivating at the opportunity to move forward their agenda in spite of the professional testimony and demonstration of facts substantiating the risks. Their denial of the potential safety risks is complete ineptness and a dereliction of duty. It was an embarrassment to see them argue with the experience and professional acumen of our top law enforcement officials. 

After hours of testimony and common sense rationale from the other three supervisors, Hill and Gibson would still not break ranks from The Tribune editorial staff’s recommendation to allow the use. None of them acknowledged or took into consideration the potential for significant crime in the surrounding neighborhoods and communities. 

The Tribune, Hill, and Gibson all got it wrong.

-- Dan Carpenter - Candidate for 3rd District Supervisor, 2016, San Luis Obispo

-- Dan Carpenter - Candidate for 3rd District Supervisor, 2016, San Luis Obispo

-- Dan Carpenter - Candidate for 3rd District Supervisor, 2016, San Luis Obispo

-- Dan Carpenter - Candidate for 3rd District Supervisor, 2016, San Luis Obispo

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