Just Say 'No' To WAMMfest Medication

Just Say 'No' To WAMMfest Medication
Posted by CN Staff on September 21, 2008 at 06:29:33 PT
By Jeffrey Kongslie
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz, CA -- This coming Tuesday, Santa Cruz City Council members will once again be faced with deciding if the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana WAMM should be granted an exemption to the non-smoking policy for San Lorenzo Park. The stated need for this exemption is to allow members to "utilize their medication" during a festival intended to raise funds and awareness for the organization. I urge the Santa Cruz City Council to oppose this exemption.
While I support the mission of WAMM and I recognize that there are people who legitimately use marijuana for medicinal purposes, I do not believe that sanctioning the use of our public spaces for this purpose, and the likely recreational drug use that will accompany it, is consistent with our goals as a community.The city of Santa Cruz has invested significant taxpayer resources in ridding San Lorenzo Park, and the adjacent neighborhoods, of chronic drug use so that these spaces are again welcoming to the broader Santa Cruz community, especially families. For the city to then "open the floodgates" to this use for one day seems greatly at odds with its policies the other 364 days of the year.While the event organizers hope to restrict the use of marijuana to a specific area, it was well-documented by the media that this was not enforced last year. It is not the intent of WAMM to host an event that is a destination for recreational marijuana users, but this trend was also documented by the media. I fear that while WAMM has good intentions, their goals and mission might be compromised by others with different goals. Remember, the 4/20 event at UCSC started out as a small student activity that has now grown to include hundreds of recreational drug users from across the Bay Area.A concern that has not been addressed are where these "medicated" individuals go after the event. They are now under the influence of a controlled substance. Do they get in their cars and drive? Do they go downtown, just over the bridge? We have also invested significant resources in getting drug use out of our downtown area, and I fear this event will undermine those efforts as well.Recently my aunt passed away after a brief and intense battle with cancer. During her treatments, she used marijuana medicinally and it was the only thing that enabled her to deal with the side effects. I firmly believe that it is right to have compassion for people with terminal or serious chronic conditions, whose suffering can be lessened by the use of marijuana. But there are more practical ways to express that support. I hope WAMM will rethink its approach to this event, with the understanding that there are community members who support their goals but cannot see the logic of lifting the smoking ban in the park. I hope that our community leaders will consider the health and well-being of the entire community and our goals for the use of our public spaces when casting their votes on Tuesday.Jeffrey Kongslie is the co-owner of Vinocruz, a downtown business, and serves on the city's Downtown Commission.Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Jeffrey KongsliePublished: September 21, 2008Copyright: 2008 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:WAMM Consistent on Pot Smoking Ban Facing Major Downer
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