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At least real libertarians, like those now in the majority of the Fullerton City Council, are rational about drug legalization. (They aren’t about things like unions and pensions and municipal bankruptcy, but in these trying times you take what you can get.) Having a true across the board (rather than just economic) libertarian city council creates possibilities that we may see nowhere else. For one: finally having a city that will fight hard against, yes, the Obama Administration to implement Prop 215, the medical marijuana law.
Today is the first time I’ll get to see the new City Council in action — and to speak to them. I’m setting up this one to publish at 6:45 or so, around the time that I hope to get the chance to speak. Assuming that I do get to speak as planned, this is what I plan to say.
Cities across California are backing down and rolling over when it comes to Administration pressure against medical marijuana dispensaries, closing them down and refusing to license new ones, denying the citizenry the benefits of this law. The government claims that the will of the people in enacting Prop 215 has been perverted — an especially easy claim for those who never favored it in the first place — and that they can close down any that don’t comply with the law.
With about a quarter to a third of the state’s population within a reasonable driving distance, Fullerton is uniquely positioned to fight back for the cause of medical marijuana dispensaries at a time that other cities are cowering. It is positioned to listen to whatever legitimate criticisms may exist of the implementation of Prop 215 — and to do it right. It can offer many dispensaries, with good regulation and honest police and consumer protection, and create a sizable new business tax on dispensaries that pays for its policing.
In other words, Fullerton can stand up and lead the fight against unnecessary pain and government steps to prevent the use of marijuana to alleviate it. Fullerton can become a “destination city” for people who want to address their prescription needs within being sent to back alleys and dim and deserted industrial parks. And, in doing so, it can make enough money off business licenses and sales taxes to overflow the city budget.
Unabashed and unafraid, Fullerton can become “Dispensary City.” As Tom Petty sang in “Century City,” a song that can be adapted and adopted: “Like modern men, modern girls, we’re gonna live in the modern world.”
The federal government has been intervening in California state and local business for too long — and the people that own and run dispensaries are no match for them. The City of Fullerton can be — even if it means, if you’ll pardon a little socialism with your libertarianism, facilitating public ownership of them under a city charter. Maybe the cases that would emerge from Fullerton’s aggressive defense of Prop 215 might reach the Supreme Court one day; a victory there would be a great legacy for the city.
Prop 215 is state law. It is wrongly being rolled back. Fullerton can champion this deeply necessary law — if you have had friends and relatives who spent years wasting away from cancer, as I have, you know how badly it is needed. I urge the City Council to begin studying the issue of licensing and housing dispensaries in a way that brings in money, provides businesses and consumers safety, defends consumer safety, and — as voters demanded with Prop 215 — helps to ease human suffering.