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Monday, May 11, 2009

Chronic City: What If They Banned Zoloft Or Something Else Instead?

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2009 at 7:29 AM

If you're a medical Marijuana patient, Oceanside may decide on Wednesday that it doesn't want your business. Or your crime, or your noise. Wait, what? - IGOUGO.COM
  • If you're a medical Marijuana patient, Oceanside may decide on Wednesday that it doesn't want your business. Or your crime, or your noise. Wait, what?
Oceanside, like 110 or so other cities in California, may impose a (temporary, they say) ban on medical Marijuana dispensaries until the city decides how to "regulate" them, according to the North County Times. 

On Wednesday, the Oceanside City Council will look at an "urgency ordinance" that would immediately prohibit Marijuana dispensaries from opening and operating, according to reporter Craig TenBroeck.

While the initial moratorium would only last 10 days, according to city officials, optional extensions would last nearly two years.

There are currently no storefront medical Marijuana dispensaries in Oceanside, located between Los Angeles and San Diego. About 30 California cities have regulations that specifically allow Marijuana dispensaries, according to medical Marijuana patient advocate group Americans for Safe Access (ASA).

In a breathlessly hysterical report to the council, City Planner Juliana von Hacht said Marijuana dispensaries pose a "threat to public health, safety and welfare." Hacht further averred, with a bit of sadly familiar alarmist propaganda, that dispensaries have been linked to things like increased traffic, crime and noise.

OK, first of all, the very concept of a city council deciding to practice medicine by arbitrarily deciding one kind of medicine legal under California law -- Marijuana, of course -- shouldn't be available to city residents -- is rather interesting. What if they banned Zoloft or something instead? What if they decided Vicodin is a threat to public safety or morals, and then you got a toothache? How many members of the Oceanside City Council (or those of the other towns which have banned dispensaries) have medical licenses?

Secondly, in this economically depressed time, how exactly is it that "increasing traffic" downtown is a bad thing? Aren't city councils supposed to be happy when that happens? Wouldn't it be a good thing to get a little money flowing in Oceanside, which hasn't been exactly awash in cash?

Which brings us to the increased crime and increased noise. Now, I don't know how many medical Marijuana patients you personally know, but I know several, and they are among the most law abiding and gentle folks I know. Heck, most of them are even pretty quiet, most of the time. Unless they're, you know, jammin' to the Dead or something.

David Blair-Loy, with the San Diego chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pointed out another area of legitimate concern: What if Oceanside's definition of "dispensary" was so broad if could affect "a single caregiver providing medical Marijuana to a single patient in the privacy of the home"?

One might have hoped, almost 13 years after Californians voted to legalize medical Marijuana with Prop 215, that this kind of hysterical scapegoating of Marijuana and those who use it legally and medically would have ended -- but oh well.

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Steve Elliott


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