Letters to the Editor: Education is key to understanding cannabis

Letters to the Editor: Education is key to understanding cannabis

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Education is key to understanding cannabis

I have worked for the last 12 years in the national cannabis industry. I grew up in Lompoc and recently moved back in part because of the incredible new cannabis law. This free market plan is unique in the national landscape and Lompoc is poised to become a destination where people visit to see our farms, stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and bring back jobs and a thriving local economy to the Lompoc Valley.

However, I have become incredibly dismayed watching a handful of loud but uneducated voices appeal new cannabis farms and continue to lie and discriminate against this plant and the people who utilize it. Not only are these appeals without any scientific or studied merit, but whether those making the appeals realize it or not, their behavior and fears are deeply rooted in racism and lies.

The cannabis plant was not illegal until the passage of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. The American Medical Association opposed a ban on it and stated is was safe and medically efficacious. Of course, then like now, facts did not matter more than the racism-fueled money and power grab being perpetrated by career bureaucrats and their deep-pocketed cronies.

Cannabis prohibition was a result not of facts, but of a propaganda campaign spread through the media empire of William Randolph Hearst and Harry J. Anslinger, the former head of the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Prohibition. Hearst had a grudge against Pancho Villa and his “marihuana”-loving troops and Anslinger saw that the gravy train of our failed alcohol prohibition was drying up.

Both men were financially incentivized in their crusade against the cannabis plant and both men were notorious for the racism they used to convince the public to ban the plant and persecute people who grew and used it.

“The primary reason to outlaw marihuana is its effect on the degenerate races,” Anslinger famously said.

Taking this origin of racist lies and history of failed policy that has perpetuated unnecessary human suffering, either the opponents to these farms and the industry are financially incentivized to sabotage the economic growth of majority-minority communities like those in North County, they are racist or they are simply uneducated and misguided. I truly hope it is the latter and we can educate away a lot of this nonsense.

Please, do not perpetuate the sins of our past by using them to make decisions in the present. Most importantly, the election is over and the people have spoken. Cannabis is now legal and your energy - and financial resources - would be better utilized in providing economic opportunity in our majority-minority and economically flailing cities like Lompoc.

Angela Bacca

Lompoc

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