Letters to the Editor: New cannabis group's focus questioned; Respect your local police

Letters to the Editor: New cannabis group's focus questioned; Respect your local police

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New cannabis group's focus questioned

A new group, the Santa Barbara County Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Use (SBCCRC), has put itself at the center of the debate over allowing new legal cannabis farms to integrate into the county’s agricultural framework.

While their arguments claim to be focused on protecting children and the county’s traditional agriculture, these same arguments expose them for what they are: neo-prohibitionists who are perpetuating the negative stereotypes associated not with the plant, but the people who use it.

The core arguments SBCCRC has against new cannabis grows are the potential negative impacts on our children and the wine industry. Isn’t that hilarious? Alcohol is not only more addictive and dangerous for children and society at large but an overdose is potentially fatal. This is not the case with cannabis. Not only are these arguments overblown, but they expose both the hypocrisy of SBCCRC and draw attention to the negative impacts of farming wine, strawberries and other “traditional” crops in the county.

Complaints have arisen about wine farmers not wanting cannabis farmers as neighbors because of contamination of wine grapes by cannabis terpenes and obstruction of the wine growers’ ability to use pesticides on their crops. Terpenes are the odor molecules found in other plants that are extracted into essential oils and found in abundance on cannabis. Recent laboratory testing of cannabis opponent and vitner Blair Pence’s most recent crop, grown next to cannabis, disprove this theory.

But let’s talk about those pesticides. When cannabis moved into the legal agricultural world laws were put in place to require laboratory testing to ensure there were no pesticides being sold on legal products. Many of the pesticides being used on cannabis on the illegal market were not only dangerous in their raw form, but converted to more dangerous substances once they were heated during the process of consumption. With that understanding, why would anyone want to protect the right of farmers to use pesticides that are considered too dangerous to be used on cannabis on their grapes or strawberries? I certainly don’t.

Angela Bacca

Lompoc

Respect your local police

I had a problem with Leonard Pitts’ Dec. 8 commentary “Respect your local police ...” simply because it’s just another topic he manages to filter through his own prism of race. He starts off with a list of police shootings of African-Americans (most of whom were unarmed) and claims “respect your local police” is a "threat wrapped in an axiom" rather than a plea for more civility.

He ignores the fact that police officers don’t always know if a suspect is armed; that they often only have a second or two to react; that there are black policemen as well, and that cops shoot white people too. The whole issue isn’t about race anyway, it’s about the lack of respect that’s grown to epidemic proportions, with people using the foulest language imaginable; organized gangs of shoplifters using calculators to tally up their totals; a KFC customer stabbing another to death over a wrong order, or giving someone a vicious beating and throwing acid on them at MacDonald’s .

If there was more respect for cops there’d probably be fewer cop shootings, even with crowds throwing rocks and shouting “What do we want? Dead cops!” and “When do we want ’em? Now!” Also, wouldn’t it be better to simply obey an officer who tells you to get out of the middle of the street instead of punching him and grabbing for his gun which started the whole “Hands up, Don’t shoot” movement.

Before Barack Obama racism was on the wane, but in order to further polarize the country he tried to encourage disrespect for authority, wanted to replace local cops with a Federal Police Force and use criminal groups like Occupy, Antifa and Black Panthers to promote more violence.

Respecting your local police is not a threat, an axiom or another of Mr. Pitts’ pseudo-intellectual debates, it’s a declaration of truth and objectivity.

Larry Bargenquast

Paso Robles

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