So much has been ardently argued in favor and against the decriminalization/legalization of marijuana that it has become difficult for an individual to decide which argument fits his or her moral compass.
On the one hand, during our upbringing, some of us learned that to consume cannabis is sinful and illegal; that if we violated this rule, we would be condemned to eternal damnation and incarcerated to boot, and that we would necessarily graduate to harder drugs when marijuana eventually lost its appeal. Some paid little or no attention to these threats and smoked pot at every opportunity anyway.
For several generations now, we have been surrounded by black and white men and women and people of all sexual persuasions and social status that illegally and routinely have been consuming pot even out in the open.
Those who advocate for the legal sale of marijuana contend that to moderately use the weed is not harmful to one’s health. On the contrary, that the byproducts derived from the weed are helpful in curing or at least alleviating certain ailments and that to continue outlawing the legal marketing of marijuana is even contrary to the concepts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.
The state of California and several other states have decriminalized marihuana for recreational and medical use even though the federal government continues to outlaw it. The US Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government can prosecute violations of applicable federal laws even in states that have decriminalized marijuana.
While legalization is first enacted at a state level, individual municipalities define the rules and regulations for how a cannabis dispensary can operate within their borders.
The San Jacinto City Council, in their most recent meeting unanimously
endorsed cannabis cultivation and sale by a 4 – 0 vote.
Concern was made patent up until the last vote as to how many sites would be allowed, at which time 8 dispensaries and an equal amount of sites for cultivation were permitted. There are 3900 acres of land for cultivation but due to infrastructure, utilities, and buildings, the actual acreage for this purpose may be less than half.
Some corners in the United States theorize that illegal cultivation of marijuana coupled with huge quantities of contraband coming from Mexico and other countries will be reduced or eliminated by decriminalizing cannabis, allowing its free sale and consumption without legal hindrance of any kind.
City Council members in municipalities throughout California are presently grappling with this thorny issue. Some arguments against decriminalization are based on moral issues that seem to be unmovable while others support their position in favor of legalization based solely on the amount of taxes to be collected. The management of these new monies will be the subject of another column.
Only time will tell which approach is accurate.