Opinion: Thumbs up, thumbs down: February 19, 2014
Kudos to council for deferring to public on medical pot growth
Sometimes, an action not taken is best.
The Colusa City Council heard three options for what to do about the outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana, but members failed to come to consensus on which to take. So they decided to put off the issue until March.
Normally, we're not fans of dithering. We elect representatives to examine issues, and having examined, act. If we don't like what actions they take? Well, that's what elections are for.
But every once in a while, an excess of caution is warranted. We believe this is one of those times.
"I want the public to have as much opportunity to talk about this as possible," Brian Pearson quotes Councilman Tom Reische as saying during the meeting in Pearson's story in the Feb. 12 edition of the Sun-Herald.
That's the part we like most.
People need to tell the council how they want this handled. Ultimately, the council will have to decide how to proceed — whether to enact regulations on outdoor growers, likely pushing them indoors; to require structures to be built, in that pushing growth indoors; or to ban the cultivation of medical marijuana outright.
Legally, an outright ban might not even stand up in court. Two districts in California have tried it, and both are tied up in litigation — although one of them, the city of Live Oak, won a victory when the 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled there was no unfettered right to grow medical marijuana. Still, proponents of medical marijuana continue the fight.
Therefore, either of the first two options are undoubtedly the safer to pursue, legally.
But the question is, what do the people of Colusa want?
Marijuana smells. There's no getting around that. It might be legal to possess for medical reasons in California, but those who don't need it — and don't like the odor — shouldn't have to put up with it.
So this is certainly something that needs resolving. But it is anything but simple. And whatever choice the council makes is sure to have long-term consequences.
Given that, we think it is not only politically prudent but the right thing to do for the council, to hear what the public has to say.
Now it is up to the public to have its say. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 18. People need to attend that meeting. They need to speak up. They need to be heard.
We elected the Council to be our voices in government. On this issue, they need to hear — and heed — ours.