To the Editor: Urges ban on cannabis

Myself, Acting Police Chief Jed McLaughlin, and Renee Westa-Lusk weighed in at public meetings on the ban for commercial cannabis. As a fierce advocate for the ban, I spoke out at three different public meetings — one City Council meeting in Ridgecrest, and two public meetings in Bakersfield including one planning commission and one meeting on Oct. 24 before the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

I delivered powerful messages, and the video message went viral on YouTube. Each clip covered different issues surrounding the complex social issue. I discussed my oath of office to support the health and safety of the community and my belief that it is criminal for any city to even consider using a well-known human vice as a tool for economic development. How in the world any government entity could profit by selling a federally illegal mind-altering drug is criminal in itself.

Statistics have proven the adverse affects, especially to younger developing minds. All the lobbyist claims about all the money the county was going to make by stating that the DEA and many other national sources are now stating that tax revenues do not compensate for the overall social negative effects.

At the Planning Commission in Bakersfield on September 28, Acting Captain Ryan Marrone went to speak but during the meeting one commissioner had to recuse himself from the vote, and one other was ill. Due to a lack of a quorum, the meeting was postponed until October 12. Myself and McLaughlin went back to speak.

At this meeting, McLaughlin supported a complete ban and talked about the detrimental effects of cultivation and sales in our local community, the fact that regulating and enforcement would be extremely difficult and funding is simply not available. He also spoke of the negative effects on our schools and our youth. He also informed the commission that Ridgecrest has had an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries since 2007 and that a new ordinance is being presented to the Ridgecrest Planning Commission and City Council banning all commercial cannabis activity within the city limits.

Kern County voted 54-percent no on state Proposition 64, which narrowly passed, and in my opinion, that vote would have been 70-percent no had the criminal lobbyist not pumped 25 million dollars into deceitful propaganda.

At the supervisors meeting on October 24, I brought up the fact that Colorado has been falsely hailed as a success story, but statistics from several District Attorneys and many other reliable sources showed the true dismal effects of allowing pot to take over.

Alarming statistics showing that Colorado now has more pot shops than Starbucks and McDonalds combined — 322 Starbucks and 940 pot shops. They litter the landscape. The Denver DA states that the black market is now stronger than ever, crime rates are up 44 percent overall and now in Denver one third of all kids and college students smoke pot.

I have more than 350 pages of highly reliable reports with hundreds of statistics proving that pot has been a proven dismal failure in Colorado and Washington. Falsely touted as a success, it is a proven pathetic failure and a complete dumbing down of a once beautiful and productive state.

Despite an earlier vote of 3-2 to regulate versus ban at the earlier Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors had a different opinion. After hours of public comment and testimony, the Board voted 4-1 to ban commercial cannabis at their meeting on October 24. Four of the five supervisors expressed strong sentiments of not wanting to put financial considerations over the public health and safety of their constituents.

In addition, all five supervisors, as well as all Ridgecrest speakers, showed compassion for the many individuals with serious health issues who spoke passionately regarding preserving medicinal marijuana. Leaders listened to testimony and studied reports identifying certain proven uses of medicinal marijuana and most expressed interest in accommodating those needs for long term or chronic illnesses, via doctor prescribed treatments, in a highly regulated, and highly restricted environment. Future provisions are being made and will be discussed at future meetings.

Wallace Martin

Story First Published: 2017-10-27