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GUEST COLUMN: Suffering slings and ‘pot shots’

Since expressing my objection to the marijuana “dispensaries” in our community, I have been receiving a number of “pot shots” from some members of the public.

Yes, I am concerned about the development of the dispensaries and cultivation of marijuana in our community. To understand my position, we need to refine the terms used by those in-support. Following WWII, those governments that we viewed as undemocratic attempted to defeat those who demanded freedom for all peoples by renaming their countries “People’s Republic of This” or the “Democratic Republic of That.” Similarly, the proponents have sought to defeat the opposition by changing words, such as “drugs” to “medicine,” “drug distribution center” to “dispensaries,” “drug users” to “patients,” and by exploiting those who have critical medical conditions as “poster children” for their movement.

I oppose the proliferation of drugs in our community. I will oppose anyone who seeks to use Proposition 215 to further drug abuse in our community, but I do not oppose use of marijuana for those with severe and significant health problems in which marijuana is used to control pain. One of the problems that have added complexity to this issue is that certain members of the medical community are issuing marijuana cards like Halloween candy. Let’s face it, those in support favor the use of this drug for all purposes. It is not a question of wellness, but of getting “high,” making money and attempting to legitimize and provide easy access to this drug among our youths and young adults for the purpose of making more money. If marijuana did not make you “high,” or if there were no money to be made, does anyone think there would be any interest in promoting this drug?

I have also stated that the threat of expanded drug use in our community is a greater threat than the Angora fire. It is. The Angora fire primarily destroyed property. Drug abuse destroys people and families. No contest.

I was elected to provide leadership, make decisions, and protect this community. Drug cultivation in our community continues to expand. I have heard estimates that the drug distribution centers have 20,000 drug users that are members of their three collectives, that there are 300 residences in our community being used for cultivation, that drug distribution centers have expanded throughout our commercial area, and at least one candidate for City Council is calling to make South Lake Tahoe a world-class drug destination resort!

Should I be concerned? Or is this the second industry that we have been all hoping for? While local government is limited by its resources to address this challenge, we nevertheless need to have a candid and full debate of the total impacts of this “industry” upon our community, and to take action to defend our community before those-in-support change its character by default.

By the way, September is national drug abuse prevention month.

– Bruce Grego is a South Lake Tahoe Council Member.


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