Pubdate: Wed, 21 Jul 2010
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Jason Browne
Note: Jason Browne is a medical cannabis advocate and lives in Red Bluff.


In response to the newspaper's statements about our lawsuit against
Tehama County, several corrections must be made in order for local
residents to understand the facts and to have an informed, intelligent
discussion about the merits of this case.

We identify ourselves accurately as qualified patients in this
lawsuit, not as "pot growers." The cannabis we grow is our own
medicine, and 100 percent of it is grown for lawful, medical uses.

We also identify as property owners and as legal residents of this
county who are being deprived of our land-use rights and our medical
rights by an over-reaching government bureaucracy.

Our county supervisors most certainly did not pass this nuisance
ordinance and the corresponding ban on dispensaries "to reduce crime
stemming from medical (cannabis) theft." No mention of protecting
patients was ever offered at the public meetings, and in fact,
patients who had suffered criminal attacks were derided and
scapegoated as somehow responsible for neighborhood unrest, merely for
exercising their rights.

Furthermore, no statistics were ever offered in support of claims that
cannabis gardens or dispensaries attract unreasonable levels of crime.
Our side offered factual crime statistics from Los Angeles that show
banks attracting far more burglaries and robberies than either
cannabis dispensaries or gardens. Yet, nobody has demanded that banks,
or even more dangerous victims of crime, like mini-marts, liquor
stores and bars, should be regulated out of existence in order to
protect our community.

The real effects of this ordinance, not surprisingly, would enhance
the ability of criminals to target medical cannabis gardens, as it
places blame for such acts on the victims, rather than the
perpetrators of the crimes. This ordinance declares open season on
cannabis farms, which will only increase the problems associated with
crimes in our neighborhoods.

Had we not sued Tehama County into eventual compliance with California
laws, every legitimate cannabis garden here would be subjected to
endless harassment by the disgruntled opponents of our rights. This
ordinance not only empowers busy bodies with lots of idle time to
blame people they know little about for problems they don't fully
understand, but it gives politicians and bureaucrats access to state
resources in the form of tax money to harass their political opponents.

It also allows fat cats who own hundreds of acres to grow nearly
unlimited amounts of cannabis, with no adherence to state laws, while
depriving legitimate patients of the right to merely grow enough for
their own medical needs.

This is nothing more than good ole' boy politics and old money vs. new
money, and it's keeping our county from earning the tax revenues and
increases in local economic growth that are available from the
cannabis industry throughout the state.

Please take note that we did not sue the Sheriff's Department, as we
didn't want to take away resources that our community needs. We also
feel that our sheriff respects the rule of law and accepts our rights,
regardless of his personal opinions about cannabis.

We sued Tehama County in order to protect the property rights and
medical rights of everybody who lives here, and in support of our
state and federal constitutions.

Lastly, to those of you who are still upset that we were able to
exercise our First Amendment rights in holding our WHEE festival,
please look in the mirror, read your Constitution or Bible and ask
yourselves if it's really worth all the fuss.

How many alcohol fueled events occur here every year? Even though such
events attract far more problems and public costs than our events do,
we support your right to hold them here.

You really don't present your side very well, when you vandalize our
private property, harass our sheriff for not rounding us all up or
come to our event to start trouble.

Please consider supporting our rights, just as we support yours, and
if you aren't willing to consider changing your mind about cannabis,
try finding more constructive uses of your spare time.

We are not your enemies, even though you attack us, and it seems we
all have more important things to worry about than who does or does
not use cannabis.

And for the record, WHEE had more than 3,000 people in attendance
during the peak of the festival Saturday and the sky didn't fall.

Jason Browne is a medical cannabis advocate and lives in Red Bluff. 
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