New administration policies help
California residents approved Proposition 215, knows as the Compassionate Use Act, in 1996 with 5,382,915 (55.6 percent) votes in favor and 4,301,960 (44.4 percent) against, but federal laws have trumped the state’s rights.
Now, two Morgan Hill men are looking to open a medical marijuana dispensary in north Gilroy to serve South County patients.
One of the difficulties dispensaries face has been the response of the federal government. Under the administration of George W. Bush, federal agents raided California dispensaries selling medical cannabis, claiming the state had no right to pass the bill since marijuana was prohibited under federal law. That has changed under the Obama administration. In February, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the federal government would no longer raid medical-marijuana clubs that abide by state laws. That’s a start.
Detractors say it will increase crime
Batzi Kuburovich, a 48-year-old Morgan Hill resident and real estate agent, and his partner Neil Forrest, a 56-year real estate agent, formed Cornerstone Commercial Real Estate Services in Morgan Hill. Now, they have applied to open MediLeaf.
The Gilroy City Council is considering the application.
Meanwhile, advocates and detractors have inundated the comment page on our Web site. Detractors say a medical marijuana dispensary will increase crime, allow access to marijuana to those who attempt to fraudulently purchase it and that it is addictive and a gateway drug that will lead users down the path of using harder, more addictive drugs.
Reap the benefits and ease suffering
Advocates say allowing dispensaries to sell medical marijuana will not increase crime, but could in fact decrease crime, and will bring in much needed revenue.
Kuburovich and Forrest say at least two security guards will screen people entering a closed foyer, and an “open-door policy” with police will emphasize that the pair has no stomach for people who feign symptoms to acquire prescriptions that they then use to buy legal marijuana to sell on the streets, Kuburovich told reporter Michael Moore.
In fact, patients buying from state-authorized dispensaries will reduce the number of people buying from illegal street dealers. And make no mistake, they are using street dealers.
A report, “Marijuana Production in the United States,” by marijuana policy researcher Jon Gettman, concludes that despite massive eradication efforts at the hands of the federal government, “marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the national economy.”
Contrasting government figures for traditional crops — like corn and wheat — against the study’s projections for marijuana production, the report cites marijuana as the top cash crop in 12 states and among the top three cash crops in 30. The study estimates that marijuana production, at a value of $35.8 billion, exceeds the combined value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion).
The bottom line: Legalize medical marijuana, tax and regulate it just as alcohol is, punish those who break the law, reap the financial benefits and ease a ton of suffering.
By Morgan Hill