2017-05-18 / Editorials

Survey leaves little doubt where city stands on pot

EDITORIAL
Acorn Editorial Board

If there’s one thing the Thousand Oaks Community Attitude Survey has continued to do, it’s confirm what we already know.

Residents, the survey has revealed time and time again, hate traffic, love open spaces and can’t agree on economic development. We also desperately want our own membership discount store (like Costco) and see public safety as our top priority.

One thing we didn’t know about T.O.? How residents feel about marijuana dispensaries, which are legal under Prop. 64 and can begin selling with a permit Jan. 1, 2018, in municipalities where they’re allowed.

Thanks to the 2017 survey, we now have answers.

To our surprise, the majority of respondents, 56 percent, said they would like to see the city allow a limited number of pot shops as long as they serve prescription-holding patients only. And 63 percent are open to the idea of home delivery.

Even after the majority of T.O. voters backed Prop. 64 last November to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, we at the Acorn remained skeptical as to whether image- and family-conscience residents would actually be open to the idea of businesses selling weed—a Schedule I drug in the eyes of the federal government—within city limits. Recall that no dispensary has ever been allowed to open legally in Thousand Oaks despite the fact that they’ve been permissible since 1996’s Compassionate Use Act.

While 56 percent is certainly no mandate, it provides the council with the political cover it needs should members decide to roll back the city’s long-standing ban on marijuana commerce.

Add the survey results to the recent chorus of voices at council meetings in favor of safe access to medical cannabis and it seems it would be difficult for the council on June 27—when a policy discussion is planned—to simply stick with the status quo.

Councilmember Andy Fox is absolutely correct: There’s no sense conducting a community attitude survey if the results of the survey are ignored when determining city policy.

Well, the survey says it’s time for Thousand Oaks to make room for the marijuana trade. Next it’s time to see if those in power agree.

If they do, then begins the real work of creating a common-sense policy that:

Keeps the drug out of the hands of children.

Protects existing homes and businesses.

Minimizes the risk of drug-related crime.

Provides quality medicine to patients at reasonable prices to deter black-market purchases.

Tracks all sales and deliveries to prevent abuse.

Earns the city enough income to offset any negative impacts.

We’ve got a great thing going here in Thousand Oaks, and no industry, marijuana or otherwise, can be permitted to change that. We can remain a family-friendly city and still allow patients to have access to a drug they say heals their pain, but it’s going to take a lot of work. That work resumes June 27.

Pretty soon the city’s Ring of Green could have a whole new meaning.

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