To the editor:
The manner in which districts and municipalities have chosen to deal with the issue of commercial medical marijuana only demonstrates an almost wilful perpetuation of the fear-based, ill-informed policies that have proven to be absolute failures, to this point.
The laws governing how medical marijuana grower/users must operate, are changing. It was a flawed system, to be sure, but, the changes being inflicted upon both patients and communities will not fix anything and, if the Supreme Court challenges prove successful—as I strongly believe they will—they’ll be meaningless.
The issue is public concern over indoor grow ops in residential neighbourhoods. Fear of violent crime in the form of armed “grow-rips.” Fear of reduced property value due to toxic chemicals and mold in the residences being used. Fear that the licensing system was being abused for commercial purposes. These were the reasons cited for the change—lots of fear, not much fact.
Due to medical confidentiality—which I support—we cannot know how many patient/growers actually only grew a few plants in their gardens. I would suspect that many, if not most, used this very inexpensive growing method. In that instance, a “grow-rip” would represent someone sneaking onto their property and raiding their garden. Awful, for the patient, but, hardly a violent act.
I think, given the high media profile of this issue, violent incidents involving marijuana are given a lot of attention. More so than the actual numbers might warrant. I mean, convenience stores/gas stations are certainly as likely, if not more so, to be targets for violent crime. Still, there doesn’t seem to be any local authorities clamouring for by-law changes for them.
It’s sad that there was no invitation extended to the many local growers to provide some experienced input. It seems, rather, that our respective councils would prefer to awkwardly stumble around using only their very limited knowledge on the issue.