Three Inland cities–Colton, Redlands, and Yucaipa–have adopted and amended cannabis ordinances to ban cultivation, delivery services, and dispensaries in recent weeks.
The decisions come as a result of state legislation that has mandated California cities to develop ordinances to maintain local regulatory control over medical cannabis by March 1. After that date, California’s Medical Marijuana and Safety Act will allow for growers to apply and potentially receive licenses for cultivation.
Local lawmakers hold that the bans will help maintain the public’s safety and improve the quality of life. However, cannabis advocates contend that the new ordinances will deny patients of their rights to receive proper treatment for severe illnesses such as cancer, depression, HIV, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). San Bernardino resident William Cioci believes banning the plant will be a ‘certain death’ for some people.
“It’s telling people to essentially kill themselves,” said Cioci during a phone interview Monday.
As of Jan. 19 cannabis patients have over 44 delivery service options to choose from within the three cities, according to the online community Weedmaps. The 2015 San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Community Indicators Report stipulated that 955 residents were provided treatment services–varying from educational support to rehabilitation centers–in 2013-14.
Cioci, 47, president of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club of San Bernardino County described the issue of cannabis prohibition as the continuance of the War on Drugs. He argues that the actions of the Yucaipa City Council and other local governments is one based out of bigotry and ignorance.
“To say someone is a nuisance because you don’t approve with their way of life is not right,” remarked Cioci. “Laws have been used throughout history to fine [people] out of existence.”
Others say local government intervention is unjust.
Yucaipa resident Deborah Coleman, 56, suffers from Fibromyalgia–a disease that affects one’s muscles and bones. For 30 years, the mother of four explained that she became addicted to pharmaceutical substances prescribed to her by medical professionals.
“I lost all hope,” said Coleman. “I was convinced I couldn’t stop taking those pills.”
Today, as a result of receiving medical cannabis through a delivery service, Coleman said she has lost over 40 pounds and regularly goes to the gym for exercise. She said she no longer suffers from chronic pain.
“I feel better,” she said. “I told myself I was going try this. And I’ve never looked back.”
Colton resident Amanda Gonzalez said, while she concurs with people having the right to receive cannabis for medical reasons, the City Council was right in banning dispensaries and cultivation within city limits.
“I feel like it’s not sending a positive message to the kids in the community, to the residents and other surrounding cities,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with people having a medical marijuana card, but otherwise, I’m against it.”