Vote No on Measure T: A Total Ban on
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Measure T is a case of political overkill in response to a problem it has no hope of solving. If passed, Measure T would ban any and all medical marijuana dispensaries from opening their doors within Santa Barbara’s urban limit lines and shut down dispensaries that now exist. Proponents contend this ban is necessary to keep pot out of the hands of school-aged children and to minimize temptation for those struggling to get — or remain — clean and sober. As a practical consideration, these goals are hopelessly naïve. But in pursuit of this impossible dream, Measure T threatens to inflict serious collateral damage upon desperate people seeking relief from life-threatening, or life-altering, illnesses. Like it or not, marijuana offers significant medical relief to an astonishing array of conditions. State voters opted to legalize marijuana for medical uses in 1996. Dispensaries — for all their shortcomings — offer the safest and most convenient access to those in most immediate need. To deny people that access seems capriciously cruel and short-sighted. We recognize that some dispensaries have, in fact, been abused by unscrupulous operators. But there are better solutions readily at hand to such abuses. For example, the Santa Barbara City Council just passed a stricter medical marijuana ordinance, limiting the number of dispensaries within city limits to just three and imposing requirements that make it among the most restrictive in the state. Nevertheless, the new prohibitionists sponsoring this measure want to use ballot-box legislation to get their way — always a dangerous undertaking. That is especially true because we have elected officials who act responsibly. Measure T qualifies as the classic case of the cure being worse than the disease, and as such, deserves to be soundly rejected.