On Marijuana

I have never been a user, but have witnessed the relief that marijuana has brought cancer patients. I wish the federal government would allow the pharmaceutical companies to develop a product that could be prescribed by doctors and dispensed at pharmacies. But the fact of the matter is that recreational use is now allowed in California and our county is a target for the industry.

I am no longer fighting marijuana and am running for this position because I want to now be on the right side of regulating it.

Proponents of marijuana first sold it to the elected officials based primarily on compassion for those with debilitating conditions.  However, those same actors are now asking for San Benito County to embrace the industry for recreational use, promoting substantially increased tax revenues that can be used to repair roads and increased law enforcement.  If that is the argument we are buying into, then I say “Let’s do it.”

 However, with any such embracement must come mitigation of the problems.  Odors from growing and manufacturing, drug cartels, gangs, and other black-market activities, must not be part of marijuana in San Benito County.  It cannot be in our schools.  Accurate and timely tax collections must be part of marijuana, as monies spent on those items it was promoted to be for.

 We cannot forget the industry is taking advantage of our small size and mostly volunteer-part-time-elected-officials-bench that does not have the time and resources to compete with the passion and funds of marijuana proponents.  If we are going to that, we need to get it right from the start.  I believe that permits granted should have a sunset date so that if we found that we made a mistake, it is not a permanent situation.

 Lastly, if we do figure this out and get it right, there is the possibility that we will add professional jobs in the manufacturing, testing, commercial distribution, and other areas that will increase our economy in San Benito County.

Make no mistake about my opinion overall: I am wary.