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Oakland is doing it wrong

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Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 7:43 am, Tue Aug 3, 2010.

It seems eminent that Oakland will approve a large scale cannabis-growing operation. It would be hard not to vote for something that would create jobs in your city.

The entire impetus for SB 420 was to allow people to have access to a substance naturally available with medicinal properties. This allows patients to eliminate profit-driven pharmaceutical companies from their monopoly on pain management substances. No longer do the sick have to line the pockets of these companies’ stockholders in order to ease their suffering. They can grow their own medicine.

Oakland wants to grow a product and bring thousands of jobs to its city, but if all of the money paying for the growth of an industry falls on the backs of the sick, shouldn’t the business be restricted to nonprofit? Perhaps the city itself should have taken charge of the project.

Does Oakland’s business model consider that it is legal for people to grow cannabis plants themselves? Or does it consider the possible patchwork of laws that will exist if recreational cannabis is made legal and regulated? How high is the profit margin (tax) for a legal substance which can be legally grown and used by anyone? How can cannabis regulation and taxation be enforced alongside SB 420, which allows untaxed growth, possession, transport and use of cannabis?

Doctors are the gatekeepers, and many are arguing that harm reduction is their reason now for authorizing a possibly otherwise unqualified patient to have cannabis under SB 420. There will still be an argument for patient freedom after recreational cannabis law is passed. SB 420 gives a patient the right to grow their own medicine.

I understand the benefits of the industrial revolution have not yet been realized by the mostly underground cannabis growing community, but anything other that a nonprofit patient/caregiver collective is outside the scope of SB 420. Expanding to an industrial nursery for cannabis does seem well within the possible for Oakland. While I am conflicted, I wish them good luck.

Joshua Hutchison

Lodi

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