Pubdate: Tue, 11 Aug 2015
Source: Calaveras Enterprise (CA)
Copyright: 2015 Calaveras Enterprise
Author: Travis Taborek


Would Like More Regulation

Calaveras County residents responding to an unscientific survey of 
their opinions on the marijuana industry say they generally don't 
oppose medical use of the plant but would like to see more regulation 
of the industry.

Many of those interviewed on Saturday in Angels Camp also said they 
are deeply skeptical, however, both of proposals to legalize 
marijuana and of government efforts to prohibit it.

"There is a place for medical marijuana if the dispensaries are 
regulated," said Ron Norlinger, 71, of Murphys. "Recreational 
marijuana, it's illegal and it probably should stay that way."

Norlinger, like others interviewed, was somewhat ambivalent. He 
qualified his initial statement to say that if individuals do use 
marijuana recreationally, they should apply the appropriate 
common-sense measures that one would be advised to take while using 
any mind-altering substance.

"I don't mind people smoking it recreationally, but they shouldn't be 
driving if they do. That kind of thing," he said.

Steven Huntoon, 65, a retired respiratory therapist from Murphys, 
said he opposes recreational use, but concedes that it has its 
benefits as a medicinal plant.

"Medical usage should be allowed, if it's a dosage like a medication, 
if it's in milligram form, as opposed to smoking it as a cigarette," 
Huntoon said. "If somebody legitimately needs medication, for medical 
purposes, they should get a doctor's prescription and have it from a 
pharmacy to pick up."

Calaveras County does regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, at 
times even going to court to force the businesses to comply with 
zoning codes. Medical marijuana gardens, however, are largely 
unregulated right now after the county board of supervisors earlier 
this year decided not to consider zoning regulations for them.

Although no one knows exactly how many medical marijuana gardens 
operate in the county, real estate agents in recent years have 
reported substantial numbers of bare land sales to prospective 
growers. Businesses selling compost, potting soil and other garden 
supplies have also reported benefitting from the new industry's growth.

Despite that, some say they think twice about whether to attempt 
growing the plant.

Chrystine Mollett, the proprietor of Aeolian Harp, said that a friend 
of hers suggested that she grow her own marijuana plants and sell 
them to supplement her income, an idea that she eventually discarded 
because of the legal risks it would entail.

Mollett say she believes individuals are probably better off growing 
their own marijuana than they would be if were legalized and mass 
produced by large businesses.

"Anything that grows out of the ground is better than what would come 
from a laboratory," Mollett said.

Doug Green, 59, who lives near Arnold, has mixed views on the topic. 
He believes that government attempts to control drug use are 
ineffective at best and can often backfire. He said that regardless 
of laws, anyone who wants to use marijuana or any controlled 
substance can gain access to it. He cited the nationwide prohibition 
on alcohol in the early 20th century as a case example.

"If alcohol prohibition didn't work, why would pot prohibition?" Green said.

Others in Calaveras have their misgivings about access to marijuana 
for medicinal use, believing that people often acquire medical cards 
on false pretenses and go on to use marijuana recreationally.

Patricia Oliver, 44, an occupational therapist from Camp Connell who 
works at Mark Twain Medical Center, is of this opinion, but also 
believes that it may as well be legalized. She does not approve of 
the war on drugs and believes that marijuana should be decriminalized.

"I think making it legal would bypass the money that's put into these 
raids and stuff," Oliver said.

Oliver does not necessarily approve of marijuana use, however, as she 
also believes that it promotes a culture of apathy and lassitude.

"Society in general is lazy," Oliver said. "I think marijuana usage 
in general kind of promotes that whole laziness."

Not everyone in Calaveras takes the middle ground. There are those 
who are adamantly against the idea of people using marijuana, 
medicinal, recreational or otherwise.

Sheri Whiteley, 60, of Angels Camp, is against a proposed marijuana 
dispensary in Murphys. She believes that there exists a strong 
correlation between access to marijuana and other, more serious crimes.

"If they set up a shop, I know that crime is going to follow it," 
Whiteley said, "I don't see how it would bring any purpose."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom