Cannabis, Survival, and County Issues

I am writing in response to Michelle Kendall’s article, “Cannabis is Medicine.”

I live in unincorporated Carpinteria and am a vocal and strong critic of the county’s scheme to regulate cannabis operations, particularly in the three-plus square mile area of Carp Valley along Foothill and Via Real. I also believe the current regulatory treatment of medicinal cannabis for its future as an effective drug is counter-productive.

I am a 30-year survivor of stage 3 colon cancer. I did not use cannabis but simultaneously with surgery at Stanford and 57 weeks of chemo, I found and continue several other methods to take some level of personal control over my survival. I have a friend who is now a five-year survivor of stage 4 breast cancer. At first independently and now under supervision of her oncologists, she has used cannabis in conjunction with “state of medicine” therapies. She also has a very deep faith.

I sincerely congratulate Ms. Kendall on the path she has found in her journey. While I don’t know what enabled my or my friend’s survival, I do believe that a positive state of mind and sense of involvement in one’s own survival, however found, are at least as important as the help of the conventional medical community.

I have no doubt there are profound medical benefits to be discovered in cannabis. Those discoveries would benefit from broad, well-funded, professional research, resulting in standardized products and professionally dosed treatments. There have been many “Eureka” moments in the struggle against cancer, and most hopes for a “cure” have faded. Whether cannabis is “the” cure is irrelevant and unknowable, but it can bring hope, personal involvement, and a positive mindset to each person’s journey. Those, alone, promote survival.

My opposition to what is happening in our county is to the unparalleled, unnecessary density, the refusal to demand installation of state-of-the-art technology, the refusal to recognize the opposition’s rights to timely present its issues before a public, impartial forum, the secretiveness of the process, the negative impact on the quality of life for many of us, the county’s singular emphasis on revenue.

The seemingly unbalanced political process and the intensity it has created has polarized the community. What is missing is the appearance and the reality of balancing the newly evolving interests of the county with its traditional interests. The result is that the issue is framed as pro-cannabis versus anti-marijuana, almost mandating that there be a winner and a loser. If the issue were framed as how to blend the new with the traditional, how to effectively introduce inevitable change, perhaps the county could arrive at resolutions that satisfy to some degree each of the diverse interests that make Santa Barbara County unique.

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