By Scott Crawford
This is my best friend Shelly. We have been friends since I was sixteen. We talk several times a day. During those years, we have shared pretty much everything. Her divorces, my trips, raising her sons, losing my parents.. Weʼve grown up together. Twenty-three years ago, Shelly was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since that time, she has had nine bouts with the big C, losing both her breasts, undergoing re-constructive surgery, losing her hair, etc. It was during these years that she began to smoke marijuana. It gives her an appetite and has kept her alive during all the chemo.
I was very sad when the Los Angeles City Council recently moved to close all medical marijuana dispensaries. Shelly has been living with dignity for years without the constant nausea and vomiting up the little food she was able to get down. Now, thanks to the Councilʼs decision, she will lose that small victory. Since 1996, Shelly has had to only deal with fatigue, hair loss, cramps, headaches, loss of sensation. Now she will have to face weight loss, vomiting, and more severe pain due to the chemo.
If the issue really is the fear of crime or community disruption because of these businesses, why not have them pay additional public safety fees when they want to open a location, like we do with other businesses? And we need to know where these businesses are. We still canʼt get an accurate number of how many of the dispensaries are operating in Los Angeles. They should register and be required to not locate near schools or residential neighborhoods. There should also be a limit on how many dispensaries are permitted within a square mile. It seems to me that the answer isnʼt closures, but regulation, registration and enforcement.
Oh, and just for the record, unlike our former President, I have never inhaled. Although, I have tried the big M. In my twenties, I went over to my friend Nanʼs house. She wasnʼt home, I was starving. I went into her fridge and there were some old brownies. They didnʼt look so good but I was hungry. I ate two and slept for two days. It was a horrible sleep and I learned my lesson, Iʼve never had any desire to try it again.
But for my friend Shelly and thousands of others for whom medical marijuana provides blessed relief, these dispensaries should be legal.
Scott Crawford is a Silver Lake resident who is a candidate in the upcoming City Council District 13 election.
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