It came to my attention several weeks ago that for nearly six months city leaders and planners have been studying and discussing issues regarding cannabis and the effect it would have on our community to grant cultivation permits for medical marijuana. I have been asked by our city leadership to share my opinion on the matter, which I am grateful to do. I am thankful for our city leadership and their commitment to protect and serve our citizens in so many ways. The simple fact that our council meetings begin in prayer encourages me to know our leaders recognize they are under the authority of God ultimately. What follows represents my best understanding, given the limited time parameters, of the city’s proposal and the consequences I am concerned will follow.
I recognize that a majority of Californians approved smoking marijuana for recreational use this past November. I am, however, among the 44 percent of our state who opposed Proposition 64, and I hold to the conviction that just because something is legal or popular doesn’t make it right, healthy, or wise. As the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy said, “Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” (History can point us to plenty of majority-held positions, which have led to great harm and destruction.) The City of Lancaster has historically identified against the majority of Californians on a number of similar issues.
I, as a pastor, and Lancaster Baptist Church as a ministry, stand opposed to the dissemination of marijuana or any mind-altering substance to the general public.
As I have reviewed the city reports recommending Ordinance No. 1019 and Resolution No. 16-55, I commend the city staff for being proactive in creating codes that would not allow distribution points for marijuana. I do, however, have significant concerns regarding this ordinance and resolution. For the sake of organization, I’ve grouped these concerns into three categories: (more…)