Monday , May 27 2024

Public Forum on Marijuana Held at Fresno State

In 1996 California voters legalized the medical use of marijuana. Since then many people throughout the state have been concerned about how it’s regulated. A reason why many showed up to the public forum held at fresno state. Over the years a growing number of bills have popped up in sacramento regarding the issue.

"It affects all of us, no matter if you’re in the industry or not, whether you smoke or not", says meeting attendee James Carney.

California has been on the forefront of marijuana legalization issues for years, but lawmakers say there is still a lot of work that’s needed to be done.

"The question I have as a parent, the question I have as a state wide constitutional officer is what impact will that initiative have of the quality of life of people, not only throughout the state but throughout the rest of the country by such a policy change", says Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.

Many happy to for the chance to voice their opinions. "I’m glad they came to Fresno at all, it’s not often we get to have an academic, scientific discussion", says another attendee attorney Brenda Linder.

Law enforcement, lawyers, state officials and researchers all met at Fresno State to give their input.

"We have a work group of 21 people and there are strong voices of opposition and concern particularly around child advocates and behavior health issues concerns", says Lt. Governor Newsom.

The opposition brought up concerns on abuse and addiction.

"In my 26 years as a police officer I have known it to be a gateway drug and it is a gateway drug", says City of Reedley Police Chief Joe Garza.

However many saw the positive affects marijuana has. Carney says, "I smoke everyday and don’t do any other drugs so it’s definitely not a gateway drug".

The concern for how the industry will be taxed in the future was also a concern.

"Right now medicinal is taxed and sales tax applied like any other tangible property anything you would buy in a store", says Public Information Officer for the Board of Equalization Venus Stromberg.

Brenda Linder is also concerned about local versus state laws. She says, "if there is an issue to legalize for recreational use what kind of protections will those proponents have here in local communities where the local government wants to have no part of it".

Comments made over the last few months will potentially help lawmakers with issues on the November ballot.

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