Paradise: Don’t ban pot

The Town Council has an obligation to look into the matter further before making a hasty decision

The Paradise Town Council next week (Jan. 12) will discuss a Planning Commission recommendation to ban the cultivation and delivery of medical marijuana within town limits. But the commission gives little in the way of rationale behind making such a sweeping decision. The plant smells? Big deal.

The recommendation to ban deliveries and cultivation was sparked by three state laws, collectively known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which went into effect Jan. 1. They pave the way for licensing of businesses related to medical marijuana—namely, dispensaries, delivery services and growing for profit. They also give local governments a short window of time to set forth policies—including outright bans—on these activities.

It seems to us that the Planning Commission is being reactionary by recommending an outright ban, particularly on cultivation, which is currently allowed. Instead, the panel chose the easiest way to deal with the issue rather than the most thoughtful or prudent.

The Town Council has an obligation to look further into the implications of a ban. First, the panel must think about its residents, some of them disabled, who need medical marijuana to live full lives. How will they get their medicine if they can’t grow it, buy it locally or get it delivered? Second, the council must think about the potential for increased tax revenue in the future. Banning cultivation, in particular, will set the town well behind other nearby communities.

In short, council members, do your homework before making a hasty, ill-advised decision.