Mount Shasta Herald
October 7, 2020
As a city councilman and business owner, I am strongly urging Mount Shasta voters to “Vote No” on Measure L. Proponents of Measure L, led by The Keep Cannabis Away From Kids Coalition, would have you believe that this measure is simply about preventing youth use and enforcing school buffer zones. Measure L, however, aims to over time, eradicate an industry that adds value to our town and helps our economy thrive.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet with the 5 cannabis businesses in our town and tour their facilities. These businesses provide 45 living wage jobs. 45 living wage jobs are incredibly impactful to a small town with an aging and declining population. At my business, I have had the pleasure to talk with young adults that grew up here, went to college, and would love to move back if only they could find a job. Cannabis industry jobs pay well enough for people to have a career, buy a home, and raise a family.
Of all the industries operating and taxed in our town, cannabis businesses contribute the fifth highest amount. Furthermore, the state of California declared that cannabis businesses are essential during the pandemic. This money helps pay for indispensable city services, road maintenance, and our police and fire departments.
Most of the language contained in Measure L is already a part of the city’s current cannabis ordinances. Mount Shasta currently has laws in place that restrict the number of industry licenses and require a 600 foot buffer zone around schools and daycare centers. The California State Superior Court even ruled that the city measures the 600 foot buffer zone accurately. Cannabis businesses are already subject to unannounced inspections by both city and state officials. The laws we have, written over a period of 2 years in consultation with experts, are working as intended.
The main problem with Measure L is that if a cannabis license holder goes out of business, then that license is gone forever. Measure L wants to eventually eliminate all cannabis businesses. This will lead to not only a loss of jobs and tax revenue, but will also help the proliferation of the illicit market. Without a regulated market, bad actors are incentivized to operate illegally.
Mount Shasta will not become a “marijuana mecca” as supporters of Measure L would have you believe. The 5 businesses operating in our town, some of which have been here for over a decade, have integrated themselves respectfully, without changing the character of our town. The fear that we will become a “marijuana mecca” simply isn’t possible, because we already have a maximum number of allowed licenses.
At its heart, Measure L is an anti business law, unjustly discriminating against the cannabis industry, and led by a group of people that live in a bygone era of reefer madness and fear mongering. Members of the KCAFK coalition have been making outrageous claims that today’s cannabis is as addictive as heroin (it isn’t – one is an opiate and the other is cannabis). They incorrectly claim that the cannabis businesses in our town are violent criminals and make dangerous vape cartridges. In reality, no business in Mount Shasta is making vape cartridges and they most certainly aren’t criminals. Advocates of Measure L claim property values will be negatively impacted. The truth is that good paying jobs lead to more people being able to afford homes, which leads to increased property values.
We all agree that cannabis is an adult use activity and not intended for kids. That is why cannabis businesses are forbidden from allowing anyone under 21 to enter their premises. Not only are kids allowed in businesses that sell alcohol, but the liquor aisles in Rite Aid and Rays aren’t even under lock and key. Both stores are within the 600 foot school buffer zone, but nobody thinks twice about this. If protecting kids is really the goal, then why focus on an industry that doesn’t even allow kids to be on the premises? The plain and simple truth is that cannabis legalization is new, and people are scared of progress. Much like the end of alcohol prohibition, it is time for everyone to accept that the world has made progress and legal cannabis is now a part of our lives.
The cannabis laws we have in place are working. We already have a cap on licenses and we already have a 600 foot buffer zone around schools and daycare centers. Crime has not gone up and neither has youth use. Let’s keep 45 living wage jobs and the 5th highest tax payer we have. Please join me in Voting No on Measure L.