I read with some interest about city leaders’ consideration of a medical marijuana dispensary here in Scotts Valley (“SV mulls medical marijuana storefronts,” Page 3, Feb. 19 Press-Banner).
The therapeutic value of cannabis has been well-established, and while careful selection of an appropriate site for distribution is entirely reasonable, I would be pleased to see the city challenge federal interference on this issue. The medicinal use of cannabis is a matter best left to individual doctors and patients, including those who are local residents and members of our own community.
I don’t know Scott Gates, but he shows compassion and common sense in his advocacy for a nonprofit “cooperative” dispensary. State law, in fact, permits medical marijuana providers to recoup costs, but not to engage in the kind of profiteering that sometimes occurs in “buyers clubs.”
People interested in knowing more about the true nonprofit distribution of cannabis should read “Dying to Get High” by Wendy Chapkis and Richard Webb (2008, New York University Press) about the Women’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, based in Santa Cruz. WAMM’s experience proves that medical marijuana can be distributed safely, ethically and at very little cost to patients.