Protect Paso Robles’ children, take a critical look at cannabis

October 29, 2022


It’s interesting that Becky Zelinski not only chooses to label Ron Cuff’s editorial opposing the further development of the cannabis retail trade in Paso Robles a “fallacious fairy tale,” but further infers that Mr. Cuff’s “dark” intention is to influence the upcoming mayoral race.

If this were some type of political messaging, then Mr. Cuff misses the mark by mentioning the contest and challenger only once, and never the incumbent. It’s pretty clear that the issue is the focus, and only at the end does he suggest that a new mayor can successfully change a community’s course.

Whatever one thinks about the personal use of cannabis, the fact is that many cities in California have been sold a bill of goods and pummeled into submission by money-influenced politicians to accept this as our new “green gold.” First promoted as “medicinal”, early proponents have continued the push for loosened regulations, lessened taxes and acceptance in our former agricultural communities.

Our neighbors to the south, Santa Barbara County, have now earned the honor of having one of the most robust cannabis industries in California, and the formerly bucolic beach town of Carpinteria is engaged in an unpleasant war between the pot industry and the residents who now live in an overwhelmingly “skunk-smell”  environment.

Ms. Zelinski very correctly points out that California voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of increased cannabis via the initiative law conduit. Money indeed speaks loudly in the initiative process, but that process consistently produces poorly conceived regulations. Those examples (such as Prop 187 and Prop 47) abound, but are then memorialized in legislation until further initiatives either repeal or modify them. The legislative process is messy and cumbersome, but demands public accountability of our elected officials.

Mr. Cuff points out that drugs and alcohol are pervasive in our culture and need anything but expansion if we desire successful subsequent generations.

The early promises of regulating cannabis like alcohol have never materialized. Tax receipts have never reached promised amounts. Controls over shipping, origins and destinations are non-existent.

DUI is a problem, but there is no defensible test to confirm what the officer readily observes in the field. Emergency rooms, particularly in college towns, deal with weed-induced psychosis and, in the case of edibles, child poisonings. The black market flourishes with impunity, a lesson we could have learned from Colorado if we had listened.

Mr. Cuff doesn’t mention the environmental issues and water use associated with cultivation, because his focus is on children and their ability to develop into successful and happy adults. Don’t take his word for it, go downtown and witness young people that can barely control their motor skills. That 18 year-old you’re watching was in 4th grade 8 years earlier. Yes, alcohol does its damage to our youth, even though it is legal and highly regulated. Pick your adult poison, but let’s not needlessly add another substance use disorder into the mix by pretending that cannabis is a benign substance, and consequently convincing our children of the same.

Protect Paso Robles’ grace, charm and character. Protect our kids so they can grow up and experience something other than a chemically induced “buzz.”

Lastly, if “homelessness” is a subject you are concerned about, consider the roles of substance use plays. Addiction begins with any intoxicant and is a disease, not a character flaw. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, 90% of addiction begins before age 18. Please consider these elements as community concerns and not just another form of recreation or tax revenue.

Dorian Baker is a retired teacher who has lived in the North County for more than 40 years.

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Homelessness isn’t caused by substance abuse. Rather, drug use makes the condition of homelessness more bearable. The damage caused by incarcerating innocent people for a relatively harmless substance is well documented. Prohibition has never had a positive effect on society.

“Protect Paso Robles’ grace, charm and character. Protect our kids so they can grow up and experience something other than a chemically induced buzz”.. We call this form of logical contortion…. WinIrony.

Here! Here!. Abolish the Wineries for the sake our children too.