I’m about as ambivalent as I can when it comes to allowing retail marijuana to be sold in Manteca.
I’ve seen the consequences of addiction. I’ve seen people get in deeper and deeper. But marijuana is not so much the vehicle as the pipe. It’s no different from alcohol, gambling, pornography, sugar, cigarettes – whatever. Anything excessively persecuted can destroy life.
I can look you right in the eye and tell you that I have never smoked, tried marijuana, or drank alcohol. I’ve never ingested illegal substances, often shy away from taking prescription drugs, be it for gout or post-hernia pain, and avoiding over-the-counter drugs to the point where I haven’t taken aspirin in years. The last medication I took was NyQuil cold pills in early 2020.
I hate the smell of cigarettes and marijuana.
That said, I make no secret of my struggle with food. The 5 liters of Dreyer’s ice cream every weekend are real. And the only reason I haven’t weighed more than 175 pounds in 18 years is because I know my weakness and have addressed it with daily exercise and a fairly strict diet other than my ice cream warehouse.
I also know countless people who enjoy the above-mentioned vices without doing it in excess.
Sitting around getting stoned is about as ridiculous as sinking into a drunken stupor. It clearly exceeds the limit of the pleasure one gets from consuming marijuana or alcohol.
And since both users are relaxing, just someone with an agenda would argue that marijuana use doesn’t affect reflexes and reaction time enough to make driving or using machines dangerous and potentially harmful to others. There is clearly a limit that is not safe to cross and that varies from person to person.
All of this means that you will find my name in the database of people in zip codes 95336 and 95337 who have legally purchased marijuana.
I did that at 209 Pharmacy in Modesto on McHenry Avenue. It was for a longtime friend who went with me. You are far beyond the legal age. They used marijuana – reluctantly at first – to relieve pain. It has enabled them to cut back on an endless number of pain relievers. It’s not about getting high, it’s about reducing pain.
So why do I, Dennis Wyatt, who in the past refused to buy cigarettes or alcohol for another adult when I go to a store, even if they want to give me the money, pull money out of my own pocket? and buy marijuana for a friend, although the smell of it makes me queasy, even if it’s not lit.
The reason is simple. I prefer that they use marijuana that has been thoroughly quality control tested rather than something they get from an unknown source.
It’s similar to alcohol. What Jack Daniels does is a quantum leap safer than bathtub whiskey or moonlight.
As for that visit to Pharmacy 209, this may sound a bit outlandish, but the clientele was a few notches above what you would see in many liquor stores. You saw no people loitering, homeless people near the place, garbage or children nearby, let alone inside.
One can only imagine if liquor stores were forced to operate like pot pharmacies. They have armed security forces on site. Access would be controlled for so many people at the same time. If you buy schnapps, you don’t just show your ID. You would need to present a California driver’s license to enter a database.
You would not be able to physically choose a selection yourself. Instead, they would be assigned an agent who would not leave until the transaction is complete. Shoplifting is clearly not an issue. And there are high-resolution cameras everywhere with a direct feed to the police.
It would be nice if liquor stores followed the standards Manteca proposed for cannabis dispensaries.
It would also be a breath of fresh air if elected leaders who are clearly in favor of cannabis sales stop misleading people by referring to the majority of Manteca voters who voted in two separate elections in favor of marijuana – Automatically legalize sales in California and rural areas of San Joaquin County provided they wish to make marijuana sales in Manteca or your neighborhood. That particular question was never answered at the ballot box. Why not ask it as a question in the local elections in November 2022 and remove all doubts? What’s the rush?
If you think people supporting marijuana sales in the states and rural areas of the county are automatically translated to Manteca, then consider this.
Why would a retired county worker who worked with the homeless in Manteca, near Northgate Park and who campaigned heavily for the city’s opening of a shelter for the homeless, refuse when a proposal was made to build it on the northern edge of town? Her answer was “because it was on Moffat Boulevard”. Loosely translated, she wanted shelter for the homeless, but not in her own backyard. Rest assured that there are those who share the same opinion about cannabis dispensaries.
What is really not answered in this debate is the question of the root of all evil, money.
Both sides exchange volleys without realizing that at least four of the council members have kept repeating that they have no intention of patronizing cannabis dispensaries in Manteca.
They say it is about the will of the people, the fact that it is legal, and the fact that the people should have elections. What they have only vaguely talked about is the money.
You mention the community benefit. But how much exactly will the community benefit from allowing legal cannabis sales?
The council is not pinned down.
Instead, they leave it to the staff to negotiate.
It is the same town hall that fills its colleagues’ pockets with consulting fees. It’s the same town hall that has been known to play quick and easy with taxpayers’ money for massive payouts to settle personnel lawsuits from less-than-outstanding management. It’s the same town hall that couldn’t properly turn out $ 62 million. It’s the same town hall that didn’t notice the city dug a hole halfway to the center of the earth when it came to the water and sewer accounts.
If there is indeed a new day at City Hall then the council must step in and reassure the community that the money they generate for the city after it has covered the costs of its regulation will go into specific efforts when selling marijuana in Manteca legal is being used as crazy money to waste it.
How about 100 percent of the money that the city realizes as a silent partner in the pot sales is used to raise funding for the police or community recreation rather than replace it?
That’s still pretty broad and certainly better than the advice channeling Joe Isuzu.
This column is the opinion of editor Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at [email protected]