It's Time To End The Phony
War On Drugs
As we round year 42 in the national War on Drugs, we have to ask, shouldn't Emeryville residents expect a reasoned, cogent public policy emanating out of City Hall with regards to medical marijuana?
Emeryville shockingly still has a prohibition on medical marijuana dispensaries; left over detritus from the absurd 'just say no' years. With nothing more than phony demagoguery about the evils of marijuana and an unmentioned but palpable overlay of Christian puritanism, Emeryville's city council instituted a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries many years ago. It wasn't for lack of compassion towards medical patients the council told us upon initiating the ban, it was because of the criminal element that would flock to our town. That and the fact that some people might obtain marijuana under false pretenses; they might attempt to obtain marijuana by lying or exaggerating the extent of their illnesses to their physicians. Legitimate cancer patients would have to make do without in order to stop some patients who might enjoy the pleasant calming effects of marijuana we were told.
Now there's a new push to remove the ban and allow a marijuana dispensary in Emeryville. A non profit group wishes to locate a dispensary in our town and the Public Safety Committee will consider this on Thursday. The group has shown how they expect more than six million dollars in sales the first three years and these revenues would be directly taxable, unlike Pixar. Emeryville's General Fund would benefit greatly at a time when we desperately need a new revenue stream.
The State and County regulation on marijuana dispensaries is inexorable and omniscient, negating ancillary criminal activity, unlike the Oaks Club. Auto use by patients should be relatively light, keeping traffic impact reasonable, unlike the Powell Street Plaza. Further, the group has shown that our police services will not be overly impacted, unlike the Bay Street Mall and if for any reason the council decides to shut down the dispensary, all it takes is one phone call from the City Manager, unlike Kitty's Bar.
Emeryville allows a host of different businesses to operate in our town and they negatively impact the residents to greater or lesser degree. We allow this because the tax revenue is supposed to more than offset the negative impacts. A medical marijuana dispensary is no different except unlike these other businesses, a non-profit medical dispensary is in business to help suffering patients, sometimes the help comes in the form of pain management at the end of their lives. As we jettison past low-minded jingoism and irrational public policy, we should consider this value added benefit for this new business in our town.