Our View: Red herrings
November 21, 2009
Editor's note: Craig City Attorney Kenny Wohl did not discuss this editorial with the board because of a conflict of interest.
For a while, it seemed the local medical marijuana issue would come and go without much attention.
That changed Nov. 10, the most recent Craig City Council meeting, when several residents made it clear they did not want marijuana use condoned in town.
Some said they opposed any use, even out of medical necessity. Others told the council that law enforcement would not be able to contain marijuana's influence once it is allowed legally.
People were passionate, emotional and angry.
They have a right to be. Their opinions and values should be considered very carefully by the city's elected officials, as should the opinions and values of those who own Craig's only dispensary, the Craig Apothecary, and those who believe that marijuana may be the best medicine for painful illnesses and conditions.
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The Editorial Board only hope that people will be able to control themselves as the City Council goes through its process of approving an ordinance to govern dispensaries.
Far too often, our country is thrown into heated, emotional arguments that threaten to derail our system of government.
Abortion. Gay marriage. The death penalty.
These issues affect very few people for the amount of time that goes into debating them.
This board hopes that the discussion around medical marijuana will not become the same kind of sludge that could halt meaningful action on other local issues, ones we think are more important, and ones that affect many more lives.
Methamphetamine addiction is out of control in Moffat County. It seems to be on every block of every street and in every apartment complex.
Cocaine use seems to be on the rise, and cocaine is a drug that actually attracts dangerous levels of organized crime because of its dollar value and surrounding culture.
Alcohol abuse fuels hundreds of violent crimes every year, from domestic assaults to child abuse to brutal street fights.
Public education is in dire need of more support. While it seems additional funding is a long way off, community involvement is free. We encourage residents to take hold of their children's education and help our community's teachers and school administrators develop our youth.
Not every member of this board has children, and we must concede that a person's worldview changes dramatically when they are faced with that level of responsibility.
However, we cannot see medical marijuana being as important to this community as these other issues, especially considering the council's proposed ordinance, which makes it expensive and difficult to open a dispensary within city limits.
We hope, in this case, that reason will win out, and that the community will turn to face its darkest demons, not the ones that are the easiest fodder.