Maintain prohibition of retail cannabis

A request was made in a recent Morgan Hill City Council meeting to “revisit the cannabis discussion.” The lengthy and thorough exploration of this issue conducted by the City in 2019 and subsequent vote by council to maintain the prohibition of cannabis retail outlets in Morgan Hill remains entirely relevant.  

As they proceed, I encourage council members to keep foremost in mind the health and safety of children and ensure the city is doing everything it can to limit availability of harmful substances to kids.

Mary Patterson

Trustee, Morgan Hill Unified School District

Just say ‘no’ to pot business

For a third time, city council members are attempting to place the sales, distribution and growing of marijuana on the agenda for consideration. The city council is spending time and resources in an attempt to approve marijuana dispensaries in Morgan Hill. The council has voted against marijuana dispensaries on two previous occasions. So why another attempt? Money; big money. Marijuana is a multi-million dollar industry for its owners and investors. But the real cost to our children and their future is much more expensive.

There has been a “Perfect Storm” of three factors that has made today’s marijuana dangerous for children. First, marijuana has been legitimized and promoted in our society. Children believe that marijuana is safe and is a “medicine.” Having a marijuana dispensary in Morgan Hill will only further the false legitimization of a dangerous drug. Marijuana is the only drug that works as a depressant, stimulant and hallucinogenic.

Second, marijuana has changed. THC is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that gives the user the “high.” Naturally grown marijuana has a THC level of 3-6%. Marijuana has been chemically and artificially altered to increase the THC past 30% in plantlike form. THC can be extracted from marijuana and sold at levels reaching 95-98%. This extracted THC is often “vaped” and injected into “edibles.” Marijuana dispensaries often advertise their elevated THC levels as a selling point. 

But buyer beware: THC has recently been shown to be dangerous, especially in the developing brain of a child. Recent medical research and studies have shown the following:

– Marijuana is addictive – National Institute on Drug Abuse 2020 Adolescent marijuana use is associated with risk of depression and suicide in early adulthood – JAMA Psychiatry. 2019

– High Potency Marijuana (THC) can lead to psychosis. – The Lancet Psychiatry journal 2019.

Third, the ingesting of marijuana has changed. A parent can no longer smell marijuana smoke on their child. High potency THC is now “vaped” in electronic cigarettes. Or a child will eat an edible laced with THC. These edibles often look like treats or candies which the kids already identify with and trust. Marijuana stores notoriously sell products marketed to kids. A child can ingest marijuana without the tell-tale signs that would have alerted their parents of the child’s marijuana use.

Lastly, we now know that teens who see storefront advertisements for marijuana are more likely to use the drug.

While a marijuana dispensary in Morgan Hill would be profitable for the owners and investors, our kids and community would end up paying the ultimate price—addiction, psychosis, depression and suicide. No amount of profit is worth the life of one teen. Ensuring a bright, healthy and successful future for our children in a drug free environment should be on the city council’s Agenda, not marijuana dispensaries for the profit of the owners and investors.

Mike Robinson, Morgan Hill

DEA Special Agent, Retired

Editor’s note: The Morgan Hill City Council is expected to discuss commercial cannabis at the April 21 meeting, according to City Clerk Michelle Bigelow. Council members will consider whether they want to proceed with the “full conversation” about a potential local commercial cannabis program at a future meeting.

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