On behalf of the many medicinal cannabis patients who reside in our county, the San Luis Obispo chapter of Americans for Safe Access expresses deep gratitude to The Tribune for supporting the efforts to provide safe and reasonable access to this medication through a collective club facility.
The Planning Commission’s approval of the application for a facility in Oceano acknowledges not only the need for a physical location to serve patients; it also recognizes the reality of the increasing level of voter and general public support for medical cannabis.
It is now 15 long years since patients in our state were given the right to obtain and use cannabis for medical purposes. However, the continuing lack of adequate access and the fear of law enforcement crackdowns keep most local patients in the shadows, justifiably paranoid of being punished. Many find themselves having to seek medication of dubious quality on the black market, or going without and suffering further.
It is true that the federal government continues to resist loosening its prohibition of this drug, even with ever-growing evidence of its medicinal benefits and increasing legal challenges. California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris states that Californians overwhelmingly support the compassionate use of medical marijuana for the ill, and she acknowledges ambiguities in state law that must be resolved either by the state Legislature or the courts. Locally, our criminal justice system has already expended too much taxpayer money that is better spent on other pressing issues.
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As 51 percent of San Luis Obispo County voters voted last year in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, it is only reasonable to conclude that support for medical cannabis here is even greater.
This should be an overriding thought in the minds of every local official who is faced with a vote involving means of access to this medication.
Linda Hill is on the board of directors of the San Luis Obispo Chapter of Americans for Safe Access.