The battle is on. Local jurisdictions are fighting back against the fallout from marijuana dispensaries – and at least this week..they won.
In City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health & Wellness Center, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state’s voter-approved law legalizing medical marijuana does not prevent local governments from using their land use and zoning powers to prohibit storefront dispensaries. Justice Marvin Baxter wrote in the Court’s opinion about local government’s right to address the “unacceptable local risks and burdens” associated with marijuana dispensaries. Now cities and counties up and down the State can move forward with restrictions that are appropriate for their local residents. Read more in this article.
Why is this important? Didn’t the voters in California say they wanted to allow medical marijuana?
It has become clear that the campaign to legalize medical marijuana was a thinly veiled stepping stone toward full legalization of the drug for recreational use. Voters thought they passed a measure to help terminal cancer patients to reduce nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite. At NCADD, we support the legitimate use for those purposes. Just not for insomnia, aging, anxiety and restless leg syndrome to name a few.
In fact, unscrupulous doctors are prescribing the drug for ailments that are far less serious than the ones depicted in the ballot measure campaign. The highly potent form found in dispensaries is now easily available to those already suffering from addiction, and it is more common to find it resold to kids on school grounds.
Activists in California are already planning a ballot initiative that would legalize recreational use. Is that a good idea?
Here are the facts about marijuana:
- Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in America
- People use marijuana to achieve a state of altered consciousness – it has a sedative effect and produces a feeling of well-being or mild elation.
- Marijuana narrows the mind’s ability to focus, giving the illusion of improved concentration. What looks or sounds fascinating when you’re high may seem insignificant when you’re not.
- Using marijuana as medication can lead to psychological dependence, especially among young people.
- The drug can decrease drive and ambition, shorten attention span, lead to poor judgment, make you easily distracted, impair communication skills, and diminish the ability to relate to people.
- Teenagers’ bodies and minds are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs. The earlier one starts taking drugs, the more likely you are to develop drug-related problems later in life.
- Each year more teens enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than all other illicit drugs combined.
- Driving a car or operating heavy machinery while high on marijuana can endanger your life and the lives of others.
- Smoked marijuana is not the best delivery system to achieve medicinal results, such as controlling nausea or pain reduction. New studies have shown that the pill form of marijuana reduces pain for a longer time period than does smoking the drug, and without the added risk of lung cancer or addiction.
- The brain develops a tolerance to marijuana, requiring greater amounts over time to achieve the desired effects. Chronic use does lead to dependence.
- According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction for about 9% of users and increases among those who start young (to about 17%) and daily users (25-50%).
- The THC content is up from 8-10% (in the 1960s) to 30-35% in the current marketplace.
With these facts in mind, voters need to seriously consider whether increasing the use of marijuana is best for the health and safety of Californians.