My View – September 2016

This month, let me get right to the point—please join me in voting YES on two ballot measures to ban marijuana shops in the city limits. On page 18, you’ll find excerpted copies of the measures as they will appear on your November General Election ballot. I can’t understate the importance of voting YES on 15-142 & 15-143 to send a message that cannabis businesses do not fit with Jacksonville’s “time, place and manner” standard.

Over the last several months, Jacksonville and other cities have witnessed negative aspects of legalized cannabis—on almost any day, the Mail Tribune publishes reports of increased crime, drug trafficking, trespassing, traffic accidents, weapons possession, misuse of water & land rights…and more abuses. Much of the illicit activity is by out-of-state entities with no concern for the welfare of the local community. Many of those affiliated with the “green rush” are only concerned with profit and have little concern for our quality of life. A ban is our best hope of keeping an unwanted element at bay.

In my view, the OLCC, law enforcement and county officials are not prepared to deal with the unintended (though predictable) consequences of legalized cannabis. Establishment of cannabis shops in Jacksonville will open Pandora’s box.

In Southern Oregon, with too many substance abuse issues already wreaking havoc on our most vulnerable citizens, recreational marijuana use compounds the situation. I also worry that under-age users, who are getting a message from adults that cannabis use is now acceptable, will increase experimentation with pot, leading to the use of more dangerous drugs. Because of its increased psychoactive chemical structure, today’s pot isn’t the pot of yesteryear and is considered “highly addictive,” as well as a gateway drug.

On August 11, the Drug Enforcement Administration (with backing of the Obama Administration) ruled to leave marijuana on its “Schedule 1” list of most-dangerous drugs. The Health and Human Services Department also said marijuana “has a high potential for abuse and no acceptable medical use.” As such, pot will remain illegal for any purpose under Federal law.

This may have serious implications for Jacksonville’s National Historic Landmark status, overseen by the Federal Government. Simply put, the establishment of cannabis shops in Jacksonville could threaten that elite status. Although not the lone reason, we should ban pot shops and not run afoul of the Feds.

For the record, I support Big Pharma and physician-prescribed use of medicinal cannabis by patients with legitimate ailments by doctors who are MD’s.

With that said, another reason to ban pot shops comes down to simple geography. As you drive on Highway 99 from Talent/Phoenix into Ashland, you’ll find 12+/- cannabis shops…plus more in Medford. Here in Jacksonville, we don’t have a hardware store, dry cleaner, pet store, or even a pharmacy for that matter—we drive a short distance out of town to those businesses. If one wishes to purchase pot, they should also take a short drive …out of town… and preserve our quality of life and property values in the meantime!

Please join me by casting a resounding YES vote to ban pot shops in our Small Town with Big Atmosphere.