Lake Forest Park Declares Permanent Prohibition on Medical Gardens
By John Novak
Last night, the city of Lake Forest Park took a giant step backwards in protecting the rights of people with disabilities, the sick and the dying.
The War on Drugs, especially cannabis, has ruined the lives of countless individuals, all in the name of public safety.
In an unprecedented move in this state, Lake Forest Park has passed a permanent prohibition on patients who form a collective garden, a right that was written into our state laws back in 2011.
The lack of compassion was especially disturbing when the council feigned concern over patients having access to their medications by claiming their Google search revealed at least 8 dispensaries outside of the city.
I can’t afford storefront prices! It is vastly less expensive to grow your own, especially with the help of a few other patients. I told the city council this back in January, but they didn’t want to listen.
Instead of trying to understand the patient’s perspective, this council instead took the word of Police Chief Sutton. His reasoning was not based on any real harm to the community. It was based on statistics that are claimed to show that guns and violence are an everyday side effect from operating a patient run collective.
In 2012, there were “nearly 100 Seattle area incidents or calls for service to marijuana “grow” locations, including robberies, assaults, other violent and non-violent crimes.”
This stat is meaningless for our purposes as it clearly does not distinguish medical cannabis vs. the illicit black market. Of those 100, how many actually did involve violence as compared to just getting a phone call by a nosy neighbor who thinks there may be a crime being committed? We don’t know and the stats don’t tell us.
They also make the claim that “statewide, there were an estimated 65 illegally possessed weapons seized from these grow operations.”
What they failed to mention was the fact that ANY gun possessed in association with marijuana is an illegally possesed gun, even if the gun was legally purchased by the owner. The simple fact that marijuana is nearby puts it into this category. So again, another meaningless statistic that has nothing to do with medical cannabis.
Nevermind the fact that a collective garden is by law an association of people, not a garden site. Restricting any association of people is a violation of our Freedom of Association and Assembly as guaranteed by the First Amendment and Bill of Rights.
So now, even a small collective of no more than 2 people taking care of their own needs at home risk arrest and prosecution, even though they are in full compliance with state laws.
The biggest slap in the face comes from the fact that patients in Lake Forest Park are seen as nothing more than a problem, even a threat to the community to the point where MEDICAL ACCESS is denied to favor recreational I-502 stores.
The Police Chief’s testimony included a lengthy report entitled, “Marijuana Situation Report for 2012” In it, there is NO difference made between the illicit black market trade and medical cannabis collectives. All are considered criminal and all statistics are blended to make it appear that medical cannabis is somehow a threat to our city, even though the medical cannabis laws have been in place since 1998.
There was no comparison made for theft and violence at businesses that sell booze or any other at risk business. There was no statistics about crimes. Only at Medical Collectives.
The people of Lake Forest Park should be aware of the fact that the Lake Forest Park police force is under contract to enforce Federal law over State laws. How? Through the HIDTA (high intensity drug trafficing area) grant program. They are clearly a vested party in that if there are no cannabis laws, there are no grants for police to fight cannabis crimes.
Stop letting the police dictate the rules for medical patients! They are not doctors! They are only trying to further their own agenda though emergency police powers.
I urge every citizen in this city to join me at the next public hearing and every one after to let this city government know that it is time to end prohibition on the sick and dying who choose cannabis.
I was very vocal about this issue before the vote on I-502. And I was right in warning people that this would severely impact medical patients and access. Now here we are.
I will be approaching every group and association within our city to help end this reefer madness. Criminalizing patients is NOT GOOD POLICY!
City officials should be ashamed of their actions. Please help me end this heartless prohibition on our medical rights.
Lf Pb an Cover Sheet
Ordinance 1060 / Prohibiting Cannabis Collective Gardens In All Zones