Smoking Out Legislator’s Position on Pot

On Running Into Assemblyman Nava at a Wine Store

Pedro Nava
Paul Wellman

I ran in to Pedro Nava at a local wine store recently. I had been writing, calling and emailing my state assemblymember since April 1st, upon receiving an email from him regarding his take on the marijuana dispensary issue, so I was pleased to run in to him. And at a store that sells only alcohol—that was a gift.

As we stood in front of rows and rows of wine, I spoke to him, and asked if he could provide the voters with factual information comparing the dangers of marijuana to alcohol. He said that he could not. I believe that it is important that we educate ourselves before voting, and I think that we should be offered the information by those we voted into service.

But this is a tough issue. He said that the Santa Barbara police don’t want marijuana dispensaries, and that if they had their way, they would do away with the bars downtown. I did not understand that the Santa Barbara Police Department would complain that marijuana dispensaries are an inconvenience for them!

Change is inevitable. Everywhere. We all have to adapt. Just think, if marijuana were the norm, and we let loose alcohol for the first time in Santa Barbara, the police would have a heck of a time with drunks, and all of the belligerence and violence that comes with alcohol!

When I asked Mr. Nava about the Controlled Substances Act, which categorizes marijuana in the same group as heroin and LSD, he agreed that the scheduling was wrong. Knowing it is outdated and wrong, I wonder if he is working to change that?

When I spoke of the possible organic farming jobs for Californians, adding hemp to our crops, especially with marijuana a proven money-maker in the state, his first response was that I had a great idea. To which I replied that I would be happy to help work on such a proposal, and offered my telephone number, which he chose not to take. How could he balk at the idea of bringing in monies to help with our growing deficit? But he is personally against marijuana dispensaries, he said; so much for my offer to work for free on an issue that is not going to go away.

Mr. Nava stated that [legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana] would only help Californians on a city and county level, not a statewide level. Don’t all of the cities and counties make up this state? So I have no idea how he dismisses the benefit. It doesn’t make sense.

He finally said, “Well, I am going to get my poison,” as he picked up his bottles of wine, paid, and left.

How fortunate for Pedro Nava. He gets to get a buzz, maybe get a bit tipsy for recreation, perhaps for relaxation after a hard day, or however he chooses, with no doctor’s recommendation, permission, or other excuses. Yet alcohol is proven to be dangerous and deadly, and causes many medical illnesses.

But Mr. Nava likes his wine. He doesn’t like marijuana, which, apart from being medically beneficial on a number of levels, is for many of us a better recreational choice than alcohol. He agreed that if someone had AIDS or cancer, that was fine. But he did not like that people were asking for marijuana to relieve headaches and pre-menstrual syndrome. I was offended by that for a couple of reasons. One, how would he know whether or not it helps with menstrual cramping or headaches. And two, who is he to determine who gets to use medical marijuana marijuana and why?

I got to witness his hypocrisy in person, after waiting for a response from him for almost four months.

Maybe he had a hangover, and that’s why he could not get back to me in a timely manner.

By the way, I emailed Das Williams with the same question, and he returned my email the next day.

As various marijuana laws and policies come up for a vote, please don’t be hypnotized by the negative campaigning against marijuana. It is not for everyone, just as alcohol or certain foods are not. But I pray that the voters give some thought to those who use marijuana recreationally or (instead of some other, industrially produced chemical drug) to take away their pain. It may be you, or someone that you love, that one day will be comforted by marijuana.


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