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‘Why is council not respecting will of people?’

In the November 2016 election Martinez voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 64 (Legalizing Recreational Cannabis). According to the County Election Department, the Martinez vote was 63 percent to 37 percent to approve the proposition.

So why is the City Council not respecting the loud voice of their constituents? The Council is moving forward with restrictions that their constituents overwhelming[ly] said they are not in favor of?  Are they deaf to the will of the people?

Why is the City Council turning down new job creation and a new revenue source for the city? The measure allows for cities to ask voters for approval of extra local taxes on the sale of cannabis. The city of Santa Ana, California, (along with 18 other California cities), has done this and expects to collect $1.5 million a year. The measure also allows cities that welcome the cannabis industry to have the opportunity to compete for grants (100s of millions [of] dollars a year) for local government, schools, public safety agencies, and non-profits. These grants will be for substance abuse, to off-set enforcement costs, etc.

Cannabis outlets in Martinez would help interfere with the ongoing black market sales of cannabis and help to free up law enforcement to focus on more urgent public safety issues. The proposition will also limit which chemicals/pesticides that can be used when growing cannabis, resulting in a much safer product for the consumer.

If the Martinez City Council feels local restrictions are needed, they should put these restrictions to the vote of the citizens. The citizens voted for this Proposition and the City Council should not disrespect their will. Where is our great city headed if our elected officials disregard the will of its constituents?

– Mike Fleming

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