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Lindsay forum asks if marijuana will hurt or help

Lindsay forum asks if marijuana will hurt or help

Attorney Mario Zamora will lead discussion on how marijuana has affected other cities and how Lindsay should manage the formerly illicit drug

@TheSunGazette

LINDSAY – While opioids may be a national crisis, the issue of marijuana is a national conundrum. 

Is it a natural “wonder drug” for pain and anxiety, a “new plague of addiction” for society to find a cure, or somewhere in between. No matter what your views on marijuana are, California voters have determined that it is legal both medicinally and recreationally. Now cities, such as Lindsay, are left to decide how best to manage marijuana. Some have chosen to ban it, a few have chosen to stay out of it, and others are courting it to solve revenue problems. 

Lindsay voters overwhelmingly approved Measure G last November allowing commercial cannabis cultivators to operate within the city. The ballot measure allows the city to tax cannabusiness $25 per square foot or up to 10 percent of gross receipts. The estimated $500,000 to $3.5 million annually can be used for police, drug addiction and gang prevention, park maintenance, and street maintenance for Lindsay residents. Earlier this year, the courts upheld the right for marijuana home delivery regardless if a city has a ban on dispensaries and retail sales within the city. All of this ambiguity has prompted the Lindsay Cultural Arts Council (LCAC) to ask the question: Will marijuana be more of a hurt or help to their city?

To help answer the question, the LCAC has recruited attorney Mario Zamora to lead a thoughtful discussion on what Lindsay can learn from other community experiments and how Lindsay should try to manage this new frontier for a formerly illegal substance. As a third generation Lindsay resident, Lindsay’s current city attorney, and practicing law at one of the largest municipal law firms in the Valley at Griswold, LaSalle, Cobb, Dowd & Gin in Hanford, Zamora will attempt to try and answer some of the questions facing his hometown. 

Will the legal marijuana transactions outpace or supplant black market trade? Taxing decisions may have something to say about this. Does a segment of retail generating significant cash sales but is precluded from using the federal banking system, pose a physical danger to local citizens? Will marijuana sales be an economic boost to local government? Should we permit growing, manufacturing, and packaging? Do we as a community wish to participate in an enterprise that in its totality may not be beneficial to our community and particularly our young people? Or will we say that it is going to happen anyway, let’s just try to control it and mitigate the damage and collect some taxes. Mario won’t claim to have all the answers, but he can help us think about it. The Lindsay Cultural Arts Council Forum is free and open to the public. 

The forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13 at the Lindsay Gallery and Museum, 165 N. Gale Hill Ave. in Lindsay. Light refreshments will be served. For questions, contact Chuck Sheldon at 559-359-5865, Ginny Wilson at 559-334-7459, or Don Roark at 559-804-5834.

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