Back in January, Fillmore banned the sale and cultivation of medical marijuana. While “possession and use of marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation remains legal”, potential dispensaries and cultivators have kept their eyes on Fillmore’s land. In response, Fillmore’s City Council called for a City Hall meeting on Monday, July 25th to hear from both sides of the issue. PRESENTERS:
- Ventura County Behavioral Health – David Tovar
- Ventura County Cannabis Alliance – Cultivation and Delivery
- Americans for Safe Access – “Regulations to Keep In Mind” – Sarah Armstrong
- Ventura County Sheriff – Geoff Dean
- Ventura County Under Sheriff – Gary Pentis
- Dispensaries – Drew Milburn & Charles Houghton (No Show)
- Selan Law Firm – Lisa Selan
- Ventura County District Attorney’s Office
- Fillmore Police Chief – Dave Wareham
PRO-DISPENSARY ARGUMENTS AND REBUTTALS “But regulations will make it illegal to give to children and young people”
- In regulated Colorado, cases of children ingesting marijuana have more than doubled in calls to Poison Control since commercial legalization.
- “Drug-related student suspensions/expulsions increased 32 percent from school years 2008-09 through 2012-13. The vast majority were for marijuana violations.”
- The product is often explicitly marketed to children as is:
- Since marijuana sales is such a lucrative industry, customers regularly use their legal marijuana license to purchase a product then turn around and sell it to someone underage or without a license at a price markup. There is no way track this kind of activity.
“Medical marijuana does more good than harm!”
- Ventura County’s District Attorney pointed out that while there are some instances where that is probably true, the number of people using marijuana for actual medical reasons is a fraction of its user base. The “Kush Doctors” we see along the boardwalk boast signs in their store front that read, “We don’t prescribe, you don’t pay!”. And they’ll issue a license without so much as touching a client. It’s a business far more so than a health industry.
“We’ll boost the economy with all of this extra revenue!”
- While it’s true that Colorado made $135 million in taxes off marijuana sales, when you look at the entire state’s budget, taxes on marijuana contributed 0.5% to state spending.
- VC Sheriff Geoff Dean argued that the “extra revenue” would go straight to increased security measures and law enforcement because with extreme for-profit businesses (and especially drugs), comes crime.
THE UNTOUCHABLE “AGAINST” ARGUMENT The VC Cannabis Alliance, Americans for Safe Access and Selan Law Firm brought enlightening information about the history, uses and regulations surrounding the marijuana industry, but approximately zero of their talking points had anything to do with what effect having an actual physical dispensary in Fillmore would do to the community. Fortunately, our officers in law enforcement had plenty to say.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the most emphasized point of the night: “It will ruin our community” – Whether or not it’s legalized, letting physical dispensaries set up shop in Fillmore’s backyard will bring increased organized crime, homicides, commercial burglaries and homelessness. It’s happened in Colorado and it will happen here. We heard story after story from law enforcement about the way dispensaries wreak havoc on their neighborhoods. The DA asked why no one from Fillmore was present to argue for a dispensary? The implication was clear. Any qualified individual could easily observe the effects dispensaries have on their communities. Why were there no non-profit proposals since this business was so essential to Fillmore? Silence. We heard about a recent Santa Barbara dispensary attempt to make a legal delivery in the area where they were…surprise!… robbed at gun point. Don’t let this be something written off as “fear-mongering”. A Google search will land you a winning assortment of similar tales. The community should be aware of the crime that goes hand in hand with this business. Upon a recent visit to Colorado, Police Chief Dave Wareham noted that when he asked residents how they felt about the legalization, a common response was, “I voted for it, but didn’t think I voted for this”.
THE TAKEAWAY Anyone listening would come to the same conclusion Nancy Reagan did and “just say no.”
- VC Star
- Daily Signal
- Rocky Mountain PBS News
- The Denver Post
- Fox 31 – Denver
- CBS News