Statement in Favor of New Cannabis Licensing Ordinance for City of Greenfield

The following statement in favor of a new cannabis licensing ordinance for the City of Greenfield was written by Mic Steinmann, Community Services Director of Greenfield, in the staff report for the January 12, 2016 city council meeting.


City of Greenfield

Allowing dispensaries and cultivation and manufacturing facilities is the right thing to do. It is also the moral thing to do. The people of California and the State legislature have clearly stated that the people of California have a right to use, possess, and purchase medical marijuana – this is the law of California – this is the right of ALL people. The legislature has enacted laws to protect and promote the exercise of that right and to provide a mechanism whereby the people can exercise that right in a lawful, safe, and supportive environment. As a city, we should also support that right, just as we should support all other rights of the people. That is a basic function of government – to support, protect, and enhance the rights of its citizens. It is not our right to pick and choose which rights we will support, which we will encourage, which we will impose barriers to their exercise, and which we will make more inconvenient for the residents of our community to exercise. It is not our right to tell our residents that they may exercise their rights, not in our community, but somewhere else.

Would it have been proper for this community to tell Cesar Chavez that he could fight for the rights of minority farm workers, organize marches and demonstrations on their behalf, but not in our community? Could we have said the same to Martin Luther King? Can we tell a gay or lesbian couple they may be married in California but they cannot do so in our community? Can we tell people they have a right to their own religious beliefs, but they cannot exercise that right in our community? How can the exercise of a right of the people be relegated to anywhere but in our community? On what moral authority does anyone have the right to tell another person that although they have certain rights, they cannot exercise those rights in this community? Or to use the power of government to make the exercise of those rights more difficult, cumbersome, or inconvenient? On what moral authority can people say certain rights can be exercised in our community but for other rights those same people must go elsewhere?

It is the moral authority and responsibility of government to support and protect the rights of all people. It is also the responsibility of government to take no action that will adversely affect the free exercise of those rights. That is a basic and paramount function and purpose of government; it is the very reason why governments even exist – to support, protect, and enhance the rights of all people – and all rights, not just some.