Our View: Real action finally taken on dispensary | TheUnion.com

Our View: Real action finally taken on dispensary

The Nevada City Council is taking action on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Real action. Not holding a series of public meetings that drags into weeks and months. Not forcing the issue to a vote of the people and then getting shot down at the polls.

The Nevada City Council at its meeting this week examined the possibility of having a dispensary, voted on the issue and handed it over to its planning commission.

It’s about time.

‘We can learn a lot from Colorado, which has dealt with dispensaries for much longer than Nevada County.’

This particular issue — moving forward on a medical marijuana dispensary in Nevada City — isn’t about favoring or opposing medicinal, or recreational, pot. It’s about dealing with a problem in a timely manner to the satisfaction of a majority of constituents.

Like it or not, California recognizes the medical value of marijuana. Obey all the rules and patients can legally purchase that medicine from a permitted dispensary.

The problem many people expressed at the Nevada City Council meeting is that it’s a significant hike to an existing dispensary. Sick people approved for medical marijuana don’t need the additional hurdle of trudging down to Sacramento.

The council’s vote is a win for medical marijuana patients, but serious issues remain for our elected leaders. Those leaders must assure their constituents that medical marijuana stays out of the hands of our children. Marijuana is easy enough to get now. It doesn’t need to become any easier.

The council should impose certain restrictions on the location of Nevada City’s dispensary or dispensaries. Keep it a good distance from schools and liquor stores. Use zoning to restrict its location.

We can learn a lot from Colorado, which has dealt with dispensaries for much longer than Nevada County. Step inside a Denver dispensary and you’ll find yourself in an alcove that’s separate from the business. An employee will check your ID before allowing you entrance. Some have security guards.

The interior of these dispensaries are clean, well lit and professional. Trained employees follow rigorous rules when selling their product.

Last Chance Liquor Store, this ain’t.

The Nevada City Council shouldn’t limit itself to only one dispensary. Ensuring a monopoly will only boost prices, leaving patients to decide if the drive down the hill is the better option. Plenty of our share of tax dollars already leaves our area. People don’t need another reason to take their money elsewhere.

A brick-and-mortar dispensary in our community isn’t opening the floodgates to marijuana. That boat sailed years ago. Instead, this is working within existing regulations to provide patients reasonable access to medicine the state of California deems lawful.

This action was bound to happen at some point. One of the towns or the county eventually would dip its toe in the water, see how it felt and then jump in.

What’s surprising is that it took 20 years.

Medical marijuana has been legal in our state since 1996. Real regulations only came about in 2015, and those regulations won’t truly be implemented for over a year.

Add to that the looming Nov. 8 statewide vote that, if passed, would legalize recreational marijuana.

These components are a snowball that’s been building for two decades. They’ve now grown to gargantuan proportions and threaten to roll over our community, unless we do something about it.

That something has taken the form of the Nevada City Council taking action on allowing a dispensary.

Real action.

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