Safe access, and safer streets

The Citizen Collective proposes a place to distribute medical marijuana legally, while working with the community

Mr. Tellesen is a local artist and founding member of the Citizen Collective.

Recently, considerable attention has been given to medical marijuana in Chico, throughout California, and across the nation. Communities and citizens are debating important issues such as patient rights, safe access, medical standards, business taxation, local zoning, cultivation regulations, and community safety, to name just a few.

As I see it, the main question today is this: How can the city of Chico best provide safe and affordable access to medical marijuana for patients who choose alternative medicine and protect our community? I believe I have the answer.

The Citizen Collective, of which I am the executive director, is a proposed medical cannabis-dispensing collective (MCDC). My team and I have spent hundreds of hours researching “best practices” while engaging many different cities—many the size of Chico—about how they successfully regulate collectives. Today, in California, hundreds of storefront dispensing collectives exist throughout our state.

A responsible, community-oriented MCDC like the Citizen Collective can, when working within regulations established by a proactive city like Chico, provide patients access to the medicine they need and safeguard our community. In order for this to happen the city of Chico must draft an ordinance regulating medicinal-cannabis cultivation and distribution.

MCDCs that work in tandem with their neighborhood, community and local law enforcement reduce crime, reduce the need for patients to grow medicine in their back yards, and provide patients with high-quality medicine that is tested and safe. Medical cannabis has been legal in California for more than 13 years; patients deserve to get their medicine in a safe and comfortable environment, much like a pharmacy, deal with a knowledgeable and friendly staff, and live their lives with dignity.

The Citizen Collective will invest in high security that ensures patient safety, including appropriate lighting, security cameras and a private security guard. Only qualified patients with a doctor’s recommendation and a California ID will be allowed to enter the collective. We will follow all rules and regulations provided by the city of Chico. We also will conduct community-outreach projects that actively promote health and wellness for patients and community members.

The Citizen Collective is working closely with the Chico City Council, city staff, local leaders, the medical community, and patients to create a standard of which we can be proud.