Fear into law

Chico City Council, don’t be paranoid

The Chico City Council and several others recently discussed a proposed law to restrict medical-marijuana collectives, dispensaries, and patient gardens—not to help ensure their success but to limit them. Patients and compassionate use didn’t come up until the public got to talk. The politicians were about control. They’re willing to go along with Proposition 215, but they weren’t about to suggest it themselves, they aren’t joyful that the state has gone and put them in this position, and they’re afraid of what might happen next.

To hamper outdoor patient gardens, the highly paid professionals on the city payroll who prepared the document suggested 50 square feet as the outdoor limit, clearly just because they thought there ought to be a limit, just because. Fifty square feet is about enough for one plant. In three months it never occurred to them to find out how much space a cannabis plant occupies. They apparently didn’t even go look at one.

All of the government people seem to be afraid of something, all of them can see into the future, and what they see is bad. They sound paranoid. I’d like to know if somebody who’s defining crime is paranoid. Peeing in a cup won’t work, but I bet there’s a test they could take.

One councilman waved a letter from a woman who’s afraid something bad may happen because of so much marijuana being around, and he wants the new law to allay her fear. Fear is an inside job. Better we should get her some therapy.

The elephant in the room was the superstition many people have about an altered state of mind, even if it does make the chemo bearable. Some people are reluctant to accept the idea of medical marijuana because millions of other people use it to improve their mood. That’s silly and uncivil. A free society requires tolerance. Judge not, and all that.

A guy once told me that in his experience people who use marijuana regularly often don’t do as well in life as people who don’t use it. Cannabis and other substances can aid innervision, and “doing well” may look like something not nearly so good for the economy. I’ve heard ganja blamed for increased dropout rates and lack of ambition among users, like that’s a bad thing. Meditation can do that, too. A broader point of view can make school irrelevant, and ambition is merely enthusiasm for conventional values and goals. Some minds are still open.

I trust that our intrepid City Council members—rather than transmute their personal fears into law for all of us—will be serene and centered when they make a compassionate, loving decision about what we all know is medically useful and that people have used forever without harm or authoritarian interference. No fear.