Open Letter to the Orange County Grand Jury

Unconscionable that the Orange County Grand Jury would commend the City of Santa Ana for establishing cannabis dispensaries yet state unsubstantiated facts on safety and crime and, to make matters worse, ignore the disastrous effects drugs have on our communities. “Pot Luck” Santa Ana’s Monopoly on Licensed Retail Adult-Use Cannabis in Orange County  (report dated June 3, 2021).

This report, although probably unintended, gives credence to Cannabis as safe and sane, and financially beneficial. The 2021-2022 OC Grand Jury must correct this misconception with a follow-up report on the predictably harmful effects of the drug on our community.

Brushing off the actual costs of this psychoactive drug, this statement appears in the report summary: The Orange County Grand Jury does not express an opinion on the use of Cannabis.

It’s all about money ($20 million taxes in three years) with no substantiated statistics on safety or crime nor future costs to the community because of drug use and abuse. To ignore the costs of drugs to users and the community is “criminal.”

Facts: (Center for Disease Control)   www.cdc.gov

  • Research shows that about 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. For people who begin using before the age of 18, that number rises to 1 in 6.
  • Marijuana use directly affects the brain — specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision making, coordination, emotions, and reaction time. Developing brains, like those in babies, children, and teens, are especially susceptible to the adverse effects of marijuana.
  • Eating foods or drinking beverages that contain marijuana have some different risks than smoking marijuana, including a greater risk of poisoning.
  • Long-term or frequent marijuana use has been linked to increased risk of psychosis or schizophrenia in some users.
  • Using marijuana during pregnancy may increase the baby’s risk for developmental problems.

Cannabis is dubiously legal in California and Illegal in the United States (a contradiction Congress will probably overturn). The OC Grand Jury has no jurisdiction on legality, but a sane body must consider the long-term effects Cannabis has on the health and safety of its constituents. Short-term money is an illusion.

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