Let’s face it, most Americans simply are not ready to accept marijuana as a bona fide medical treatment — at least not with regard to allowing pot dispensaries in their communities.
Perhaps these are the same folks who got a good chuckle years ago watching “Reefer Madness,” a really bad film, but one with a message that marijuana is a start on the road to ruin.
No matter what the mindset, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors seems to be aligned with prevailing public sentiment, and has ordered an “urgency” ordinance banning more pot dispensaries. The ordinance will be considered Jan. 19.
There’s plenty of scientific evidence that marijuana is beneficial in treating a wide range of illnesses and afflictions, including relief of the nausea and discomfort associated with chemotherapy in cancer patients.
While the science is indisputable, we have to agree with critics of pot dispensaries, and with the Board of Supervisors, for seeking a moratorium on more dispensaries — not for the scientific reasons, but because of the potential for dispensaries to turn into neighborhood drug dealers, due to the lack of regulation.
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Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown used this week’s board discussion to list some of the crimes associated with pot clinics, among them murder, rape and illegal drug sales.
We agree with his premise for that kind of argument, but the logic is a bit shaky, in that similar crimes occur near other businesses, too, including pharmacies. The key difference is the level of regulation.
In fact, most cities in Santa Barbara County already have bans against storefront marijuana clinics, and this week’s county board action is simply an extension of that concept into unincorporated areas.
Again, we believe the board is on the right track, given the public’s resistance to what amounts to a de facto decriminalization of marijuana use, and because of the need to have proper zoning and regulations in place.
But we also endorse a full, honest discussion of marijuana policy, from the village to the federal level. Basing laws on silly movies and obsolete science is bad policy.