Mark Lyon: Vote for compassion, tolerance; No on Measure W | TheUnion.com
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Mark Lyon: Vote for compassion, tolerance; No on Measure W

I have never utilized cannabis and, unless the time should come when it might become a medical necessity, I cannot imagine my using cannabis in the future.

It is simply not a part of my lifestyle. Still, I will be voting “No” on Measure W.

I shall leave issues of either the medicinal value of cannabis or its possible abuse to those more knowledgeable on the subject than I am.



For me, it is simply a question as to whether our local government should be given the power to interfere with our ability to utilize our property in whatever otherwise lawful manner we may choose.

Is it not strange that the same conservative voices who so often scream, “Get the government off our backs!” and hold property rights to be sacred, now clamor for governmental intrusion into both our medical affairs and the diminution of those same property rights?

The concept of having an inviolable right to the control over one’s home and, by extension, the land upon which that home sits goes back centuries in the annals of English common law. As William Pit the Elder so eloquently put it: “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail — its roof may shake — the wind may blow through it — the storm may enter — the rain may enter — but the King of England cannot enter.”




For more than 20 years, I have, each year, paid more than my average monthly income in county property taxes. Should not the payment of these taxes entitle me to enjoy the use of my property in whatever way I choose, so long as I do not either violate state law or engage in conduct which is clearly and directly harmful to my neighbors? If I should be stricken with an illness for which cannabis might be effective and I am able to grow the legally allowed limit of six mature plants within a sturdy fenced and locked garden fully shielded from my neighbor’s view, why should the county be allowed to deny me the right to do what would be perfectly acceptable in other counties?

Is it not strange that the same conservative voices who so often scream, “Get the government off our backs!” and hold property rights to be sacred now clamor for governmental intrusion into both our medical affairs and the diminution of those same property rights?

Proponents of Measure W claim that a ban on outdoor cultivation is necessary to eliminate massive grows which pose an environmental danger to our county. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

These massive grows are already illegal and banning outdoor gardens in which a patient is limited to a maximum of six mature plants will do nothing to remedy the illegal grows of which the proponents complain. On the contrary, a ban on an individual patient’s ability to grow their own cannabis will only cause the problem of illegal grows to increase.

It is a matter of simple economics.

Whenever the available supply of a sought-after commodity decreases, as will be the case under Measure W, the price of that commodity will rise. And the more the price rises, the greater the incentive will become for those willing to flout the law to engage in massive illegal grows. Has the lamentable history of our nation’s attempt to prohibit alcohol taught us nothing?

Furthermore, sending out members of the Sheriff’s Office to destroy what would be otherwise legal home gardens of six or less plants will be a ridiculous waste of manpower, which could better be employed seeking out and destroying the large illegal grows which the proponents of Measure W claim they wish to eliminate.

Surely a reasonable plan can be devised by which property owners who have acquired the required physician’s recommendation could grow from one to six mature plants with the number of allowable plants being determined by the size of the patient’s lot. Other counties have succeeded in creating such plans. Why cannot we do so as well?

Have the proponents of Measure W no compassion for those who have both a diagnosed need and a legal right to utilize cannabis to alleviate their suffering? Have those who demonize medicinal cannabis users and growers on religious grounds and wish to force everyone to live by their personal religious code forgotten that love and tolerance are the hallmarks of both their faith and civilization itself? Have they forgotten that forcing others to live by their religious precepts is the way of totalitarian regimes and the antithesis of all for which our country stands?

Please vote for compassion and tolerance. Please vote “No” on Measure W.

Mark Lyon lives in Nevada City.


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