Kathryn Zamudio/Courier A former Pasadena City College student holds his medical marijuana after loading a bowl in Alhambra on Sunday, April 9, 2017.
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Let’s get personal. I need medical cannabis and so do many people in the city of Pasadena. But there’s a problem: our city council has a personal vendetta against dispensaries.

Pasadena City Council has been acting vehemently to eradicate medical cannabis access to patients in the area by moving to turn off the power and water to the businesses they access it from.

Along with not permitting delivery in the Pasadena area, the council has absolutely no plan to establish access for the Californians living in their city who voted for this 21 years ago and again for recreational use just last year.

Though city council-member Margaret McAustin claims this isn’t against medical use, it is. It is a very direct opposition to the needs and wants of their California constituents who voted for the Compassionate Use Act, Proposition 215, in 1996.

Legally, right now in California and as a resident of the state, we can obtain a recommendation from a doctor for a condition that can be eased with medical marijuana. After that, a patient may visit a dispensary (if you’re a Pasadena resident that would be in Narnia) to acquire medical marijuana to ease their symptoms.

When registered voters are denied access to their medication and cannabis that they voted for, this is the city’s way of refusing to serve them. I am appalled by the actions of city council and hope to see supporters of cannabis all out there with me in the fight against the removal of access in Pasadena.

However, this is just the first vote through the house and now there is a second vote they need to get it officially in place. Also, they must establish due process for the businesses to appeal. They kept referring to a zoning ordinance that bans marijuana dispensaries but that was something not voted on by the public. The vote was exclusive to the council, who seem to have a personal problem with marijuana.

So, let’s pretend we end up in the Pleasantville version of Pasadena where there’s no dispensaries and we all pretend we’re not violating the rights of our voters.

Under the list of pre-existing conditions for the American Health Care Act as it stands, since my endometriosis causes menstrual irregularities and other female related things the Trump administration opposes, I am considered a pre-existing condition.

When I was 15, I was diagnosed with endometriosis when my first period sent me to the emergency room. The prescription for the pain was a cocktail of vicodin and muscle relaxers. If I wasn’t medicated with those, I would sometimes pass out from the pain and be unable to go to class. The campus security literally carried me to my mom’s car once. 

But at the age of 24, I found medical cannabis at Golden State Collective and the magic power of  CBD (cannabidiol). When I use CBD, I have a clear mind and can stand upright during the first few days of my period and during other painful endo-related symptoms which was something that I wasn’t able to do before with the “so-called help” of pharmaceutical drugs.

Golden State Collective was my first dispensary where they employ their bud tenders under the Local 770 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Shaun Szameit is respectful and pays a living wage for his employees and has maintained a positive relationship with his neighbors, including the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.

I have witnessed firsthand businesses where that wasn’t the case and I feel that those who do not treat their patients and employees with compassion should be shut down. But that’s not who the council is hurting, they are hurting the business owners who want to do the right thing while still providing residents with their medicine.

I want to call out the elephant between the lines of this measure. I do not appreciate this tip toe dance city council is doing around the obvious distaste and disapproval of medical cannabis and the rights of the Pasadena voters. Don’t say “unlawful uses,” council, but say clearly what is the intention of these rushed actions.

When I entered the address for Pasadena City Hall to see the way their precinct voted, I found that  68% were in favor of proposition 64.

The zoning measure the council kept referring to was not brought to the public for discussion, was not voted upon by their constituents but was passed in secret.

It was, however, supported by a group that operates on scare tactics like statistics presented by biased groups and do their best to take down the validity of scientific research. Does that sound familiar to you? Also adorned in an orange tinge, a woman who shall not be named made a public comment to the council supporting their motion to shut off utilities to wholesome medical marijuana dispensaries on behalf of a group called, “Protect Pasadena Kids.” In the words of Frank Zappa, I’d rather protect them from ignorance and lies thank you very much.

Let’s also add in: medical cannabis patients, store operators, and the artisans and bud tenders who work in the community are also parents and care dearly about their children. That’s why they are all working so hard to create a future for them where plants are not criminalized and the truth is given the attention it deserves.

The representative donning her latest Coach flats presented that “241% of teenagers in Colorado between the ages of 13-17 use marijuana” following the passing of their recreational law. So why is it that the Scientific American, a publication supported by the reputable wire service Reuters, reported a government study that found a dip in pot use among high school students? What the commentator is neglecting to recall is that these teenagers have been smoking the reefer long before dispensaries had a business license but rather a dime bag and a code name like Sasquatch. Enough of the Reefer Madness, already.

The very same group has been behind the recent campaign to push out Pasadena’s homeless population. So, let’s go back to our Pleasantville scenario. Where are all the dispensaries and transients supposed to go, spill out into L.A. county and battle it out for space? Up until recreational legalization, there wasn’t any issues with the dispensaries being here. The 2015 zoning measure that banned dispensaries didn’t actually enforce itself.

Since there were so few attendees who were for the shutting off of services, we might as well address them all. One of the supporters looked like he was on the city council himself, he approached the podium with thick stacks of his proposal with extreme ease. He was so comfortable with the council, they even tried to ask him a question after public comments had already been closed for a good half hour.

And last but definitely not least, the woman who clapped for herself following a distressed plea in support of the proposal as her home had been near a freak accident near a medical cannabis lab. The lab had a canister explode while creating concentrate for patients who cannot medicate through other methods or require a higher dosage. Oops. However valid, the nature of the accident should be seen as more reason for safe access to business space that would better home a laboratory. Instead, the city council should continue it’s development of a cannabis business ordinance.

It is clear that the council would rather serve their own interests than those of the Pasadena area who voted for their right to medicate and relax without prohibition, we shouldn’t have to ask for it be in our town as well. Many patients who have pain conditions cannot travel too far out of town and when access to medication that reduces their pain is less frequent, the more likely they are to have pain that would hinder them from being able to travel to Eagle Rock for their CBD.

The city council and “Protect Pasadena Kids” may not want our grass in their backyard, but we’re not going anywhere.

There is severe lacking in research and understanding from the city council, television news, and the groups who are arguing against medical cannabis because after nearly a 100 years of prohibition. There is more research on this than any other subject and it was even reported by the National Cancer Institute that cannabidiol kills cancer cells this very year, but here we still remain.

Recently, KCAL-9 ran a story about an increase in children visiting the emergency room after eating their irresponsible parent’s edibles rather than the story they had published on their website and recorded that day of the story of patients and businesses who would be hurt by the new ordinance, like Golden State Collective.

What the 10pm broadcast on May 16th didn’t mention, because why would they, is that these parents are the only people to blame for their children consuming their edibles. They are told by bud tenders how to properly store them away, they are educated on the potency of the edible and the precautions that should be taken to ensure the best experience. But when neglect happens, it is the business that is blamed.

You still have your prescriptions in the house, don’t you?

Furthermore, the children who consumed the edibles did not have their lives threatened throughout the entire ordeal, their parents just had never dealt with someone who was too high before and probably don’t even know what to do for themselves when they are too high. (Drink water, take a nap, eat some food. You’ll survive, still to this day, no one has overdosed on cannabis in any form)

Another point to be had is that there are more inexperienced cannabis consumers now than ever before. What we need to do is respond with education, not fear and ignorance because that is the lazy approach to any issue. If you don’t understand something, educate yourself about it before making any decision on the matter. Unlike the Ohio state legislator who had never asked himself why a woman would want an abortion but just that he didn’t want them to have them.

The whole point of freedom is that you have your choices and I have mine. I would never force someone to smoke a joint with me or tell them they had to wear pink on Wednesdays. What you do with your body is your choice and since the state of California has approved the legalization of medical cannabis and recreational, as a Californian you deserve safe access to cannabis.

Even if you live in Pasadena, CA.

Comments

  1. your information is completely wrong! 1st of all it is not a prescription, it is a recommendation from a doctor. That’s big difference. 2nd, Pasadena is working towards regulations, and all the illegal cannabis business operators have to shut down to make way for new lawful cannabis business to start operations. You can learn more about it at the 420 College events in Pasadena.

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