Guest View: Personal side to marijuana debate

Purple Cross is on Bolsa Road.

The Hollister City Council is reviewing its Medical Marijuana Ordinances that ban medical marijuana dispensaries within the city’s jurisdiction. The current ordinances, 1058 and 1059, were adopted in January 2010 as urgency ordinances.
In an e-mail to my City Councilman Ray Friend, I am appealing to the city council to revise or rescind the existing ordinances for personal, medical reasons.
In June 2012, I was diagnosed with “advanced and aggressive” prostate cancer on the eve of my 53rd birthday. In August 2012, I chose to undergo a radical prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate) followed by adjuvant radiation treatment therapy to remove the cancer and kill any remaining microscopic cancer cells in my body. After surgery, the biopsy of the cancer nodules removed from my body confirmed that I had Stage 3 cancer. I am grateful that regular periodic testing indicates that I am now cancer-free.
I obtained a medical marijuana card pursuant to Prop 215, the Compassionate Care Act, and was able to purchase medical marijuana from Purple Cross RX operating within the jurisdiction of San Benito County subsequent to my surgery. I chose medical marijuana, with the approval of a physician, because it is not habit forming and is less toxic to the human body than opioid-based pain relievers as an analgesic and sleep aid. At present, Purple Cross RX is forbidden by law and ordinance to act as a dispensary to medical marijuana patients in San Benito County.
Due to ordinances in the City of Hollister and San Benito County banning medical marijuana dispensaries, patients with chronic or terminal illnesses and/or their caregivers cannot legally obtain the medicine in this county to alleviate pain or lessen the symptoms of their illnesses. I implore the Hollister City Council to consider the effect these ordinances place on patients who are sick or dying and/or their caregivers who are compelled, by current ordinances, to obtain the medicine they are entitled to receive under the auspices of Prop. 215 and thus must travel outside of Hollister and San Benito County for relief.
On Oct. 9 of this year, Governor Jerry Brown signed three new laws that will provide for the regulation and taxation of medical marijuana—from seed to sale—in California in 2016.” (see –…).
In more recent news, this week U.S. Congress, under bipartisan leadership, is proposing to extend the Rohrabacher/Farr Medical Marijuana in Funding Bill in Fiscal Year 2015-2016 to de-fund the federal Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration from prosecuting medical marijuana dispensary operators in states like California where medical marijuana laws exist. “Riders” included in next year’s massive spending bill would prevent the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money on interfering with the implementation of state laws covering medical marijuana and industrial hemp research programs.”
Finally, please understand that I am not comfortable releasing personal medical information to the public. I am willing to forego my rights to medical privacy because I feel local leaders need to understand the gravity of the situation and how current medical marijuana ordinances in Hollister and San Benito County hurt and burden sick and dying patients in need of safe access to quality- assured medical marijuana in our community.
I urge you, the mayor and other city council persons to review and reconsider the current ordinances, 1058 and 1059, and take appropriate steps to direct staff to rescind or revise these ordinances so that an appropriate number of medical marijuana dispensaries, at locations deemed satisfactory by the planning commission and/or staff, may operate within the City of Hollister for the benefit of legitimate medical marijuana card-carrying patients so they may obtain the medicine they need locally here in Hollister.
Michael Smith is a Hollister resident.

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