Opinion: We are vehemently opposed to medical pot businesses in Incline Village
Special to the Bonanza
The following guest column was submitted to the Bonanza prior to Tuesday’s Washoe County Commission meeting. The Rev. Bill Nadeau indicated he planned to read it as a statement before the board.
My name is Bill Nadeau, I am the pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in Incline Village.
Commission Chair, Marsha Berkbigler, and members of the Washoe County Commissioners Board, thank you for hearing our individual and community pleas concerning the possibility of opening Medical Marijuana Establishments in our small Village at Incline.
Personally, and on behalf of many of our parishioners, we vehemently oppose a marijuana business in North Lake Tahoe.
While the compassionate use of marijuana has proven effective helping some patients with chronic diseases, multiple sclerosis, bipolar disorders and severe autism, it is critical to address the social and moral issues associated with marijuana.
Marijuana is a drug. It is a drug that has been used in our hospitals for years, but it has been a controlled substance, heavily guarded and meticulously documented as to who distributes it and who receives it while in the hospital.
There have been and continue to be very strict rules concerning medical marijuana in the medical profession. We already have legal pre-scribed medications that do the same things as medical marijuana.
I judge that Medical Marijuana Establishments are in reality a business. They are stores, in which the medical marijuana merchants, not nurses or doctors, will open their doors to sell this drug for the purpose of profit, not for health and compassionate reasons.
Medical marijuana is a veiled and disguised term for recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana will in my mind only exasperate our existing drug problems in the North Lake regard-less of the alleged safeguards and rules associated with sale of this drug.
Marketing the so-called medical marijuana will be a dangerous message that implies “doing drugs is not a big deal.” Pop star Lady Gaga recently disclosed that she smokes up to 20 joints a day as a form of “self medication” for anxiety and “numbing myself completely.” How unfortunate that she brags about her “marijuana dependence.”
From my 25 years of ministering in State and Federal prisons, I have concluded that marijuana is a gateway drug to more dangerous and addictive drugs. I heard over and over again, the sad stories of young men and women, who experimented with marijuana only to become heavy users, drop out of school and engaged in life criminality.
I believe it is my responsibility to prevent any type of substance abuse or addiction. Drug addictive behaviors have proven to be tied to child and spousal abuse, violent crime, rape, teen pregnancy, STDs, family break up, divorce, school drop out, job loss, and fatal accidents. No tax revenue is worth these family and social problems that substance abuse causes.
Opening a Medical Marijuana Business will potentially lead to a greater drug abuse problem in Incline and the entire North Lake Tahoe area. Therefore, rather than open a marijuana business, I ask that you consider opening up a Detoxification or Addiction Center.
While there are two such centers in Sparks and 12 in the Reno area, we have none in North Lake Tahoe. Drug problems already ravage our youth and society and are growing at a rapid pace, making rehab centers a much more important goal than opening up a marijuana business.
Our children and young adults, who see their peers, their neighbors, or worse, their parents smoking pot, or who smell the distinctly sweet odor or who hear about the “Merits of getting high,” are much more likely to desire it, try it and become users.
We are playing Russian roulette with our children and giving them extra bullets if we allow marijuana to be so easily accessible and sold under the pretense that is medical marijuana.
Let us not be duped into pretending these shops are solely for medical rea-sons. If we facilitate or tolerate a culture of marijuana and drug abuse that is linked to poor academic performance, depression, anxiety, suicide, property damage, vandalism, fights and a host other problems, we are not part of the solution, but a part of the problem.
Thank you for your attention and I pray that you will not allow medical marijuana to be sold in North Lake Tahoe.
The Rev. Bill Nadeau is pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in Incline Village.