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Marijuana shops in Lakewood

Many people in Lakewood are are dismayed by the City Council’s relentless unanimity. We see the seven members of the council appearing to act as a mutually-admiring monolithic block.

However, there are times when council members are able to think for themselves. For example May 21 2018, when the Council voted on Ordinance 683, to prohibit the production, processing, and retail sale of marijuana.

Ordinance 683 was a 4-3 votes, with council members Anderson, Whalen, Brandstetter, and Barth supporting it, and council members Moss, Bocchi and Simpson voting against.

The Suburban Times reported that Council Member Branstetter justified Ordinance 683 by point out that “Short term money is not a good trade for long term problems”. I would agree with his broad sentiments. The City should not recklessly pursue additional revenues. And I am particularly thinking about the City’s encouraging of warehouse development. In the short-term warehouses do bring tax revenue, but the environmental devastation they cause can be irreversible, and is likely to last long after their decommissioning. Compare that with marijuana shops. Aside from being secure – more secure than gun or alcohol stores – they tend to be small and reusable – yesterday a nail salon, tomorrow a church.

If Lakewood allowed marijuana shops, few people would notice. Particularly now, as the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana are snowballing across the Western world. Furthermore, marijuana shops, unlike many commercial activities, cause no lasting damage to the environment, and they bring in tax revenue to the City. Also, they make sense for the environment, because Lakewood marijuana users wouldn’t have to drive miles to get their supply.

In 2018 five members of the current council were part of a close vote to prohibit retail sales of marijuana. To my knowledge council members Farmer and Belle have not yet had a chance to publicly express themselves on the issue. I believe that it is now time for the Council to vote again on the issue, and to allow legal marijuana to become part of the City’s diverse economy.

For myself, I don’t use marijuana, and I don’t condone it either. I am also agnostic about its medicinal benefits, and I accept that in rare cases it can be a trigger for schizophrenia. However, the legalization of marijuana is spreading throughout the Western world, and like alcohol and tylenol, it is just another product that needs to be available to adults but also regulated.

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