by Jonathan Whritenour
Medical marijuana is a controversial issue in the Coachella Valley, but a recent poll commissioned by a local councilman shows just how divisive the issue is to valley residents.
According to The Desert Sun, Rancho Mirage councilman Scott Hines proposed the idea to turn Coachella into California’s major grower and supplier of medical marijuana. However, when a poll of valley citizens was taken the support for the idea was underwhelming. Even though California has allowed legal distribution, the majority of people did not like the idea. Despite this, medical marijuana is important for people with diseases, such as glaucoma.
The councilman was worried about what the citizens would think about this idea. The reaction of the people was negative, despite the positive impacts marijuana might have on the lives of sick people. This is because people believe that many use marijuana as a recreational drug and and not for medical purposes.
The federal law still prohibits the use of medical marijuana. The fed’s told dispensaries to shut down or face criminal charges. They were banned in 2009, but by late next year, the courts were in favor of marijuana dispensaries. Councilman Hines thinks marijuana could help the valley make money. There is a divided reaction about the marijuana issue among the politicians in Coachella. One one side, councilman Hines is a key supporter of the cause; on the other side, Coachella Mayor Eduardo Garcia is opposed to making medical marijuana a legal product.
Even students at College of the Desert are divided over the issue. Many students believe medical marijuana should be supplied legally in the valley for a variety of reasons, while some vehemently oppose it.
“Marijuana helps treat cancer and chronic back pains,” said COD student Daniel Davalos. He also said that pot can treat glaucoma and anxiety.
“It should be legal, but only if federal law allows it to be used for medical benefit. The government has to be strict on distribution,” said Daniel Nickerson, another student.
“You do not have to get it from a criminal, just go to a local dispensary,” said COD student Edgar Encino.
“Marijuana is a better choice than prescription drugs,” said Brittany Ramirez. She mentions that if marijuana becomes legal, the government should tax it. “They need to tax marijuana and regulate it instead giving Mexico money to get it.”
Marijuana is seen as a good thing it is relaxing and helpful with curing diseases, but it is seen as unhealthy by others. Student Nick Johnson says that marijuana “damages people and is harmful to society.” Citizens use a medical card to obtain marijuana, but not of all them use it for medical purposes, but abuse it. Student Gaby Lopez feels that “people abuse marijuana and their medical cards.”
Some students, however, fear It may cause a major problem for the country. “The issue hit Congress in the 70’s and it did not pass. There will be issues with the black market and there will be territorial wars,” said Steve Richards, a student at COD.
A few people are on the fence about the marijuana issue, such as student Dan Reyes. He said “It is good if the user has a terminal illness, but is bad because people are faking sickness to get marijuana and it is unfair.”