Marijuana Legalization: Where Do You Stand?

Should marijuana be legalized in San Luis Obispo County? In California? In the United States? This is a short video consisting of two interviews of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students who take opposing sides on the issue.

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Medical Marijuana Deliveries in SLO County

This is a map of over 80 of the 100-150 medical marijuana dispensary mobile delivery sites located throughout San Luis Obispo County. Because brick-and-mortar marijuana dispensaries are technically illegal in the county, growers and sellers have taken advantage of the delivery system to take their hemp and cannabis products straight to the consumer. All information used in order to create this map was taken from the dispensaries located on weedmaps.com.

Medical Marijuana: What Side are You On?

As the medical marijuana industry booms, raking in over $3.3 billion in 2015, the city officials and Board of Supervisors in San Luis Obispo County take a far more conservative stance on the subject. As a primarily liberal student body inhabits the campus and surroundings of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the question is raised – how much do we know about marijuana? Where do you stand on this breaking issue?

While no deaths have ever been reported from overdose of marijuana or THC, its chemical component, the plant does serve many other purposes. If not used medically, it can also be used to help the environment, as told by a political science student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Chase Dean, I got the opportunity to interview. Conversely, the growth of the plant does use on average 100 gallons of water for 450 joints, which definitely contributes to the state’s drought, but is more effective than the growth of wine or other types of plant-based alcohol.

While four states have legalized possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, those being Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, there are also twelve other states and territories that have decriminalized possession of marijuana, where those caught will only receive a fine or ticket, as opposed to jail time. As California is one of those states that decriminalized the plant, San Luis Obispo County officials still take a far more conservative stance than the state seems to be leaning. Those that support the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana believe that the benefits that would come from its legalization would be immense, both economically and societally. However, those that do support legalization also tend to support a high taxation on the substance, although it is being used as medicine for those with nausea, epilepsy, cancer, and insomnia, among other illnesses and conditions. With Colorado as a basic case study of the legalization of recreational marijuana, much can be learned from everything that has come from this major legislative move.

Those that oppose the use of both recreational and medical marijuana argue that the plant, if smoked or ingested, may be considered a “gateway drug”, or one that will lead users to pursue the usage of other mind-altering substances. Conservative America fears a nation controlled by altering substances, understandably. While the country also has the deadly vices of tobacco and alcohol, many people fear that marijuana will become as addictive and dangerous as other substances already in existence. Another question raised is what will be done with those already serving time in prison for charges related to marijuana, whether it is possession, distribution, or driving under the influence. Will they be freed or still have to serve their time for breaking a law that was in fact enforced at the time that they did it?

Medical Marijuana: How do you feel?

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(Photo: activistpost.com)

In this piece, I interviewed twenty different undergraduate students around different parts of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s campus, asking them about their opinion on medical marijuana and its legalization. While most students explained that they agreed with the legalization and usage of marijuana, there were a few students that felt differently on the subject. It still stands as an oddity that San Luis Obispo County’s Board of Supervisors is so conservative on the topic while much of the county’s population has taken a liberal stance.

10 Things You Need to Know

  1. San Luis Obispo County commissioners unanimously voted to limit the growth of medical marijuana

After Governor Jerry Brown signed bills in September concerning limitations to transporting and growing marijuana, local counties’ governments have the power to either allow or prohibit the regulations put on medical marijuana. San Luis Obispo County’s Board of Supervisors took advantage of this opportunity and in a unanimous vote, decided to create an ordinance affecting and limiting the growth and sales of medical marijuana in the county, although it was previously legal.

 2. Medical marijuana patients in California are most commonly being prescribed for pain, insomnia, and anxiety

While marijuana is currently illegal to be used recreationally, its medicinal properties have been placing it in the spotlight. In a study of 1,746 medical marijuana patients from nine different evaluation clinics throughout California, it is said that the most common uses for prescriptions are for acute ailments, coming from initial self-reported symptoms.

3. Local county officials throughout California are working to create their own ordinances against marijuana before the state makes its own regulations

Although in recent years, the city of San Luis Obispo has attempted to ban all types of deliveries and dispensaries of medical marijuana altogether, they now plan to take a stance on making their own regulations before the state of California makes the decision for them, in March 2016. While dispensaries are not technically illegal yet, officials are going to great lengths to limit both cultivation and sales of the medicinal plant.

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(Photo: Dylan Honea-Baumann/The New Times)

 

4. About 2.6% of California residents are users of medical marijuana

Studies show that amongst the 23 states that have legalized medical marijuana, there is a very rough estimate of at least two million users, and about one million of them are living in California alone. This relatively large portion of the state’s population live in all parts of the state, and come from all different backgrounds. It is estimated that over two-thirds of patients nationwide are over the age of 50.

5. Some cities in San Luis Obispo County have already banned medical dispensaries altogether

The city of Santa Maria in South San Luis Obispo County has already fully banned the growth and sale of medical marijuana and all dispensaries and delivery systems from within the city. Dispensaries from out of the city boundaries can still legally deliver to inside of the city. The city of Arroyo Grande is the next of San Luis Obispo County to potentially ban the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana. This sudden push to create city ordinances against the plant have been occurring due to Governor Brown’s regulation to either create ordinances by city or to follow the state’s regulations in March.

6. Every city in San Luis Obispo County has banned brick-and-mortar dispensaries

While delivery medical marijuana dispensaries are almost entirely legal, and San Luis Obispo County has over 100 of them, brick-and-mortar dispensaries have been outlawed completely due to the Medical Marijuana and Safety Regulation Act that passed just this year. There have never been any walk-in dispensaries in the county, but the number of delivery dispensaries has seemed to grow rapidly in recent years as the university and community becomes more mindful of the booming industry that is medical marijuana.

7. “Crime and traffic” have prevented the most recent approval of a brick-and-mortar dispensary in Nipomo

Ethnobotanica, a dispensary based out of Nipomo in central San Luis Obispo County, has been denied of its request to be made a walk-in dispensary in the community. The decision was not unanimous, and was in fact 3-2 with the County Board of Supervisors. Nipomo police officers along with the Board of Supervisors claimed that the primary reasons for its disapproval were due to the family-oriented community and the concerns they had over both crime and traffic pollution of the area.

8. The state of California does not require users to register as “patients” for medical marijuana

The numbers of patients and users of medical marijuana in the state of California is extremely difficult to gauge due to the fact that the state does not legally require users to register in that way. The state of California is known for having the most “relaxed” laws and policies on medical marijuana, and due to this lack of a requirement, it has less registered marijuana users than states such as Arizona, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, and Oregon. Because California is the most populous state, these statistics together do not quite add up. Legislators are working to pass laws to put regulations on registering for cards that would require far more information and for specifics regarding dispensaries.

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(Photo: sanluisobispo.com)

9. California’s medical marijuana users are often younger, more educated, and more likely to be employed than the state’s average resident

In a study done by the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, it is said that the average marijuana user is a white, male, employed, and educated citizen. Users are slightly more likely to smoke or use tobacco products, but are less likely to consume alcohol, especially on a regular basis, than the average California resident. Strangely enough, over 40 percent had also reported that they had never used marijuana recreationally before obtaining their medical marijuana card.

10. Patients are still allowed to grow on up to 100 square feet of private land with a physician’s approval

Due to Proposition 215 of 1996, titled the California Compassionate Use Act, the ban on medical marijuana cultivation and sale is not effective on those that were once given permission legally to do so. Primary caregivers are allowed to grow marijuana on up to 500 square feet of land. Although the growth and cultivation of the plant is discouraged and somewhat frowned upon, the 20-year old law has upheld the changes in recent local legislature.

About Me

Early Life

Quinn Augusta Fish was born on August 25, 1997 in Berkeley, California. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in one house for her first 18 years, she called Alameda home, a small island off of Oakland. Her two parents, Susan and Jed, raised her in a non-religious household, with her older brother, born in 1994, named Colin Xeno. She grew up playing softball, soccer, and volleyball. In high school, she discovered a love for yearbook, particularly in her role as copy editor for her high school’s publication. After impressing her teacher and peers, she earned the role as editor-in-chief for her senior year.

Non-Academic Life

Quinn enjoys hikes and nature, especially snowboarding and spending time on her parents’ boat in Trinity County in Northern California. She loves to travel, especially around the different parts of the U.S. Her father’s family descends from West Virginia and Virginia, so she shares a unique love for the East coast and Southern border of the US, specifically for its culture and landscapes. In the summers of 2014 and 2015, she worked at a nature summer day camp in the Oakland hills called Sarah’s Science, where she taught science projects to kids ages four to six. Because of her love for children and nature, she spent her summers doing what she loved most.

Future Aspirations

After graduating in 2019 with a Bachelor’s of Sciences in Journalism and a minor in Ethnic Studies, Quinn dreams of someday becoming an editor for a major publishing house or public affairs forum.

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