The Antioch city council is proposing a permanent ban on medical cannabis facilities and delivery services. We believe the proposed ban is unconstiutional as it will deny patients access to their medicine, and would deny legal business owners their right to due process.
Without local medical cannabis facilities to fill their prescriptions many of Antioch’s most medically challenged patients are forced to face the dangers of the illegal marketplace. Many of these patients are extremely ill and cannot risk using untested cannabis from unregulated sources. Residents of east county without transportation currently have no reliable, safe source for the medicine they depend on. Other residents take their tax revenue to cities like Oakland and San Francisco that have seen the benefits of having regulated medical cannabis facilities.
NORML estimates that there are now more than 1.1 million medical cannabis patients in California alone. Patients use medical cannabis to alleviate suffering from a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, cancer, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and HIV-AIDS.
The US Deparment of Health and Human Services states in their US Patent # 6,630,507:
"Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention."
“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care. - Francis Young, DEA Law Judge - 1988]”
We believe this ban is short sighted and that properly regulated medical cannabis facilities can bring jobs to the area and stimulate economic growth. The LA Times recently reported that Harborside Health Center in Oakland paid $3.5 million in taxes last year, $1.1 million of that to the city of Oakland. Mayor Harper stated at the council meeting on January 8th that he believes "not all money is good money". Why should we be so quick to turn away millions of dollars in potential tax revenue when our city is unable to fully staff our police force? Since when is legally obtained revenue "bad money"?
What makes the revenue generated from filling a prescription of medical cannabis (which is legally prescribed by a licensed physician) "bad", and the revenue generated by the pharmacies that are currently legally operating all over Antioch "good"?
Tax revenue from medical cannabis can be used to hire more police, fund social programs, and most importantly give the residents of Antioch a safe way to access their medicine. History has shown us with alcohol that prohibition doesn't work, but that regulation does. Let's learn from our mistakes instead of repeating them.
Not allowing safe access locally to medical cannabis only encourages illegal sales, which leads to crime and violence in our community. A ban on medical dispensaries will not have an impact on cannabis use in Antioch, a ban will only send patients' tax revenue to other cities, and patients without transportation will be forced to seek their medicine from unregulated and untested sources.
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