A Dangerous Appeal
Both as an elected official and now as a private citizen, I have always enjoyed reading the Independent, and have the utmost respect for your publication, editors and writers. However, I am compelled to share my concerns about your new feature in the Living section, “The Cannabis Corner” wherein the latest column — “A Ganja Gift Guide” — seemed particularly misguided.
While the author reminds us that someone who receives a gift of cannabis must be 21 years or older, the content of the gift guide is geared to those of any age. The messages are shocking: purchase a “brightly colored clutch … that says “I AM HIGH” … or a gift box of “cannabis goodness” that will come with a “blue ribbon and a tree will be planted in your honor.” The author goes on to promote “infused gummies” and then “coloring books” that take on a whole new meaning when “paired with pakalolo.” Finally, the highlight is a late-night delivery service that keeps “proper stoner hours from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.” The appeal to the drug culture and to our youth is undeniable.
As you know, policymakers, including school board members and county supervisors (I’ve served as both), have spent decades attempting to remove the allure of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs and the ability of manufacturers to influence young people or risk the health of others. Just as the community is trying to ensure that youth and pregnant or breastfeeding women don’t use cannabis, and medical professionals are increasingly clear about the dangers cannabis use presents to youth and pregnant or breastfeeding women, this column makes that work even more difficult.
I get it. There is a market and interest in cannabis, and (despite my many efforts to reduce the scope of our Santa Barbara County ordinance) our county has opened the floodgates to its production and distribution. I know that it is your responsibility to report a balance of news and opinion pieces. Yet it seems an effort could still be made on your part to not encourage or glamorize the use of cannabis in a free promotion cloaked as a “living” column.
Janet Wolf served on the Goleta School Board from 1993-2005 and on the County Board of Supervisors from 2006-2018.