Medical pot not in city's future

DOWNEY - Acting on the recommendation of staff and relevant extensive research findings by other groups, the city council voted last week to introduce an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries from operating locally, saying their potential dangers far outweigh benefits while it conforms to Vision 2025, the city's updated General Plan.The vote was 4-0, with Mayor Pro Tem Luis Marquez abstaining. "I abstained from the council vote last week precisely because I need more information on the issue," said Marquez. "There's a lot going on out there, and I want to look at other options. Let's see what happens." The topic of legalizing marijuana altogether in the state, the thrust of Prop.19 up for vote this November, is a hot issue, with polls showing proponents with a slight edge over the opposition. Passage of the initiative requires a two-thirds vote Federal law prohibits anyone to grow, cultivate, use or possess marijuana. In 1996, California voters permitted (via the Compassionate Use Act) the possession and cultivation of marijuana for certain medicinal purposes, limited to seriously ill persons. A medical marijuana identification card program was later added allowing localities additional immunities from state marijuana laws. But use of dispensaries, as the voluminous research shows, has invariably led to nefarious results, referred to as 'adverse secondary impacts': robbery, homicide, burglary, organized criminal activity, weapons violations, and money laundering. Such activities further strain already overburdened police resources. Further, the observed exponential increase in 'grow' houses presents fire and route hazards due to unpermitted construction and wiring installations. Main dissenting voice to the prohibition of local marijuana dispensaries has belonged to one individual, local resident David Schreck, who wanted to know why the staff report emphasized the dangers but not marijuana's benefits. As delineated in the ballot measure that would legalize pot, adults would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. State and city advocates are salivating over the jobs and the preservation of health care, home care, education, etc., benefits that revenue from local marijuana sales taxes will bring.

********** Published: September 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 23