The November 2016 ballot will have a record number of statewide initiatives and a slew of local measures on topics ranging from school funding to campaign finance reform, prescription drug pricing, banning plastic bags, gun violence, the death penalty, and allowing for the legal adult use of marijuana. It’s important for Santa Barbara City voters to also take note of Measure D: the Santa Barbara Marijuana Control Act.

The City of Santa Barbara is one of the only jurisdictions in the tri-counties area that currently allows for storefront medical marijuana dispensaries, and it’s important that patients can access medicinal cannabis safely, knowing that the product abides by current state and local laws. Recent statewide polling indicates that voters statewide will support the legal adult use of cannabis, via Prop. 64. If that happens, the City of Santa Barbara will be the responsible agency to ensure that the new law is safely implemented locally, through its public safety and code enforcement departments, as well as working with other partners to protect minors from access and exposure.

Regardless of your personal opinion of Prop. 64, we can agree that it’s prudent for cities and counties to have local control in ensuring public health and safety of their residents. Measure D provides funding to do just that through a 20 percent local business tax on cannabis. This level of taxation is comparable to taxes on cigarettes and hard alcohol, and Measure D funds cannot be taken by lawmakers in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., and will only be used directly within the City of Santa Barbara.

Public safety, substance abuse prevention, and education leaders all agree with city leaders over establishing local funding and control, as being proactive is the best course of action during this time of state and federal ambiguity.

Measure D is a proactive and pragmatic measure that will make sure medical marijuana patients can legally and safely obtain cannabis for their medical needs, provide enhanced local control to the city in enforcing local and state laws and regulations, and provide essential resources in case the statewide measure passes into law. We urge Santa Barbara City voters to vote yes on Measure D.

Dave Cash is a retired S.B. Unified School District superintendent; Jason Dominguez, Frank Hotchkiss, and Randy Rowse are city councilmembers; Joyce Dudley is county District Attorney; Kate Parker is a SBUSD Board trustee; Helene Schneider is mayor of Santa Barbara; Ed Stonefelt is executive director of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Leslie Wiscomb is a Parks & Recreation commissioner.


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