Both sides in the ballot battle over medical marijuana dispensaries have enlisted impressive lists of dueling signators for and against Measure T, which — if passed — will ban any and all dispensaries within the city limits of Santa Barbara. Favoring Measure T — and opposing dispensaries — are former Santa Barbara mayor Marty Blum, a well-known cancer survivor, and County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone. Joining them are Bob Bryant, the jewelry store owner whose son died of a drug overdose, and radiologist Dr. John Wrench. Opposing Measure T — and in support of a limited number of dispensaries — is Dr. Steve Hosea, director of Cottage Hospital’s Internal Medicine Education — former member of Santa Barbara City Council Gil Garcia, former county supervisor Frank Frost, Joe Allen — an attorney who represents many dispensary owners — and Anne Brown, a brain-cancer survivor.
Ban proponents have argued that those who have a genuine need for medical marijuana are allowed by state law to grow their own or join a private collective. But allowing retail operations, they contend, sends the wrong message to young people about drug consumption. “We do not want Santa Barbara to be known as the pot shop capital of the Central Coast, as is described in marijuana community literature,” the pro-Measure T ballot argument reads. The anti-T forces contend that without storefronts, those in medical need will be forced to find relief via the black market. They argue that the ordinance the council just adopted — allowing no more than three dispensaries — is one of the strictest in the state and should be given a chance.