Opinion » Shredder

The ol' nope-a-dope


Good news, mobile marijuana dispensers! Your businesses are safe! On Tuesday, our forward-thinking public officials, under guidance from our gutsy law enforcement professionals, wisely chose to deny Ethnobotanica Patients Cooperative’s application for a brick-and-mortar dispensary in Nipomo.

It’s just too dangerous to have a medical marijuana business in the county! Even District Attorney Dan Dow thinks so, noting that such businesses have a lot of cash and drugs on hand, making them “attractive” to criminals. That’s why SLO County should also outlaw banks and pharmacies—all that cash and all those drugs might attract criminals, and the best way to stop crime is to not have anything to steal. Makes perfect sense, right?

Plus, as Sheriff Ian Parkinson noted, the proposed location is super far away, way down in the southern end of the county. “I don’t think that this location is something I can service,” he lamented, noting that his department’s response time would be between 13 and 15 minutes.


Obviously the problem isn’t that this projected response time is about half what it takes to have a pizza delivered. If that was a concerning issue, I’m sure James Bigelow of Nipomo—the brave citizen who appealed Ethnobotanica’s application—would have been complaining about a lack of police protection instead of the traffic congestion and negative impacts the dispensary might cause Nipomo. He’s probably right. Nipomo’s pretty nice. We wouldn’t want a medical marijuana business attracting more Pizza Hut and Taco Bell franchises, right? Bigelow’s got his priorities straight! Be fighting mad about a legal business catering to ill people but don’t worry that the sheriff can’t protect your community from crime.

Sure, a cynic might argue that that’s the real problem: Parkinson admits his department would be unable to protect a legal business. I mean, stopping crime and protecting businesses like banks, jewelry stores, pharmacies, or anything else that may be a target—inconveniently located plumbing and electrical supply yards, trucking companies, and warehouses—is not his job, right? No, his job is to pick up the pieces after a crime has occurred and then maybe solve it if it’s not too hard and the criminals are super dumb. He’s not Batman, for Pete’s sake! So Parkinson’s absolutely right to say, “Crime is what I am most concerned with,” while admitting he’s incapable of doing anything about it if it happens too far away.

It’s not like Parkinson could have a patrol car check through southern Nipomo. Let’s not be absurd. It’s not like there’s some sort of precedent for increasing law enforcement in areas prone to crime. If there were, we’d have more patrols in downtown SLO or around Cal Poly student neighborhoods on the weekends, which never ever happens, right?

County supervisors split predictably, with reckless 2nd District Supervisor Bruce Gibson and irresponsible 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill voting to allow this travesty of an idea—which is perfectly legal and which the county passed regulations for way back in 2007—to go forward. Thank God that 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton and 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold were resolute enough to vote no, citing a lack of law enforcement support and “traffic concerns.” These two brave ladies weren’t even worried about appearing to be total hypocrites. They dismissed real traffic concerns about the Las Pilitas Quarry outside Santa Margarita and argued it should go forward because we needed the rock, which we didn’t. Now they’re bravely citing fake traffic concerns and arguing that patients don’t need this dispensary because, hey, look in the back of New Times. It’s easy to have dope delivered right to your door!

I’m most proud of 1st District Supervisor Frank Mecham as the swing vote. He could have sided with the silly patients who no doubt would feel more comfortable visiting a licensed dispensary to peruse the selection of possible medicines instead of ordering sight unseen from a mobile dispensary. Instead, he chose to valiantly ignore the county staff’s recommendation that the supervisors approve the application. Man, I wish I lived in his district. He’s a real badass. Toughen up, Hill! Pansy!

Let’s face it. SLO County doesn’t need or want a brick-and-mortar dispensary. As Dow noted, we’ve had residential robberies in the county by criminals targeting medical marijuana dealers. Sure, Ethnobotanica argues a brick-and-mortar dispensary would be safer because it would have security doors, cameras, and all that, but that’s just crazy talk. Just look to history! The last time we had a dispensary was in Morro Bay. Remember Charles Lynch and his Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers? Can I even count how many times it was robbed? Oh yeah. Zero. It was, however, raided by federal and local authorizes, the latter of which still seems unable to accept that medical marijuana is legal.

“I’m persuaded by the fact that we need to bring this use out of the shadows,” Gibson said in favor of approving Ethnobotanica. Are you high, man? We’re trying to sell classified ads here! 

The Shredder is lifting SLO County out of the Dark Ages one satire at a time. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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