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Patients deserve access to medical marijuana in Napa

Patients deserve access to medical marijuana in Napa

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The Napa County Green Party urges the Napa City Council to support the implementation of the medical marijuana dispensary ordinance and to establish a medical marijuana dispensary as quickly as possible.

As a political party founded on the values of social justice, we believe patients have a right to safe access of medical marijuana and that this right should not be overridden by federal law. We also believe the Napa City Council must balance the risk of legal liability with the needs of patients, the ability for the city to safely regulate, and the will of the majority of Napa citizens.

Also, implementing the medical marijuana dispensary ordinance is an opportunity for Napa to build momentum on a national level to legalize medical marijuana.

Firstly, for many patients medical marijuana relieves the suffering caused by terminal illnesses, chronic pain, spinal-cord related injuries and paralysis, seizures, cancer and muscular dystrophy. Establishing a medical marijuana dispensary in Napa provides Napa residents with safe access to their medicine.

Secondly, the Department of Justice released a memorandum on Aug. 29 titled “Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement.” The memorandum states: “The Department is committed to using its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources to address the most significant threat” in regards to marijuana.

The city of Napa’s medical marijuana ordinance, as one of the toughest and most regulated medical marijuana dispensary ordinances in California, is written in a way that supports the Department of Justice’s guidelines to ensure the most significant threats are strictly prevented and regulated. This also provides the city with the ability to safely and fairly regulate medical marijuana, which is in the city’s best interest.

Thirdly, citizens of Napa have indicated support for medical marijuana dispensaries, evidenced by the fact that 59 percent of Napa County citizens and 61 percent of city of Napa citizens voted for Proposition 215 in 1996, which legalizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the state of California.

Hundreds of members of the public have spoken in support of the medical marijuana dispensary ordinance at meetings held by the city Planning Commission and Napa City Council.

And lastly, implementing the medical marijuana dispensary ordinance builds momentum to legalize medical marijuana nationally. Throughout history, we have learned that national change occurs when we take action on a grassroots level. As more and more local governments implement medical marijuana dispensary ordinances for patients in their communities, a clear message is sent to Washington, D.C.

This message is that patients should have safe access to their medicine. This is how change happens. Our locally elected Napa City Council members have an obligation to consider their role in this broader struggle for social justice.

In conclusion, we once again ask the Napa City Council to support the implementation of the medical marijuana dispensary ordinance and to establish a medical marijuana dispensary quickly. While it’s important to keep the city out of legal trouble, it must be noted that future city councils may amend or rescind the medical marijuana dispensary ordinance if it creates more harm than good for our city.

The Napa City Council cannot forget the patients suffering chronic pain and terminal illness.

Smith is a spokesperson for the Napa County Green Party.

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