Nava vs. Pot

Per the controversy of marijuana dispensaries, Assemblymember Pedro Nava has said that their proliferation “has spiraled out of control and threatens the fabric and quality of life for Santa Barbara families, as well as public safety and neighborhood integrity.” [News, “Pot Crack Down Commences,” 12/1/09]

Okay, let’s see: Santa Barbara is a continuum of bars, “wine tasting,” beer culture, and an overall alcohol-obsessed culture attracting out-of-town people to imbibe, and that’s okay, but the thought of pot conjures up images from the movie Reefer Madness.

Ideally, people should not have to depend on alcohol or drugs to get through the day, but clearly prohibition of marijuana has been a failure. (As it was with alcohol.)

It seems better to legalize marijuana so that people can get hold of it either by growing it themselves or buying it for cheap. (Legalization would eliminate the black market, hyper-inflated prices.) This way, it seems we could obviate the need for dispensaries, which means potheads wouldn’t be mixing in with those who benefit from marijuana and descending in concentrated numbers upon dispensaries. A family friend who ultimately lost her cancer battle sought relief from the side effects of her cancer treatment with success.

I’m only 48, but I’ve heard that a few decades before I was born, marijuana was legal, and how ironic that this past era is what moralists decry as Paradise Lost. - Bill Clausen

• • •

Recently the city put a prohibition on dispensaries within 1,000 feet of Casa Esperanza homeless shelter. But does physical proximity of recovery centers to that of distribution centers of drugs prone to abuse really matter? Why is the headquarters to drug addiction counseling agency Zona Seca next to a popular bar on the 100 block of West Figueroa Street then? - Matt McLaughlin

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