Future is bright

It’s now been two decades that California has permitted medical cannabis use and cultivation without the threat of prosecution. Some reports and research suggest that cannabis can be helpful for relieving pain, controlling nausea and stimulating appetite. But your recent story suggesting that county officials are prohibitionists was quite misleading and should have been more balanced (“High Anxiety,” March 10).

Like local governments across the state, county and city officials passed bans as the quickest way to preserve local powers to regulate cannabis. And let’s be clear: Medical cannabis cultivation has led to numerous problems, including:

1.  Excess product:  The supply of medical

cannabis exceeds the demand from patients,
resulting in product becoming available outside the medical cannabis rules of the  Compassionate Use Act. My big concern is the increased access to cannabis by children who are using at alarming rates — and not for medical conditions;

2. Diversion: The illegal diversion of medical cannabis into black market drug sales has resulted in a profitable, illegal business. And ask yourself why law enforcement looks into private grows — there are numerous local examples of theft, violence and disturbances of peace;

3. llegal extraction labs: THC extraction, done in clandestine labs, can result in serious harm to the folks making the hash oil, including burns and respiratory harm, as it involves the use of toxic chemicals.

As a general contractor, I’m well aware that cannabis cultivation in urban areas has caused numerous problems, including hazardous use of electric power (putting residences and other buildings at fire risk). For the above reasons and others, there must be some real local regulation and oversight. The county is putting every effort into getting this right, and is launching a public input process so the failures we’ve seen in neighboring counties can be averted. Instead of reporting that the future is bleak, maybe you and your readers — and especially those who can benefit from medical marijuana under strict local regulation — should see the long-term future as bright because   . . . we can get it right.

Hugo G. Goerner
Ventura 

Not objective in Hueneme

In its column, the Star states “Reading between the lines, that means the insurer believed [former City Manager Cynthia Haas’] case was so valid that the best course of action was to write a big fat check.”

The problem is, the majority (Doug Breeze, Jonathon Sharkey and Sylvia Munoz Schnoop), which can’t stand the minority (Jim Hensley and Tom Figg), directed the JPIA to get on board with the settlement as being in the best interest of the city [of Port Hueneme]. However, there was no specific allegation made whereby an independent investigation could be conducted without its integrity being tainted. There were only broad-brushed allegations in the claim. City Attorney Mark Hensley (no relation to Councilman Hensley) appears to have recommended to the JPIA the settlement; surely he has written something that opines on liability. This is the same city attorney who, just recently, disagreed with the district attorney’s admonishment with regards to the city’s recent Brown Act violation.

Ms. Hass’ claim is not an objective case! It’s is a subjective case of five competing political opinions. The majority’s actions, of late, have been very aggressive toward Council members Figg and Hensley. So with this settlement action, the majority, in their political minds, think they have proven their case against the minority, and the Star appears to support it.

The problem is, there are several conflicts of interest in play and not one acknowledged by the Council, city attorney, the Star or the JPIA. For example: In this county we have seen independent public investigations of elected officials conducted to preserve the integrity of the investigations and findings. It appears to me, the best interest of the city would have been served by an independent investigation that focused on specific allegations. Being that this case is subjective, there are various conflicts among the conflicting parties, who do not agree on what was said. In this scenario, 3-2 takes on a whole new meaning.

Now the big question: How will Ms. Hass’ actions be defended with regards to the four city employees currently suing the City for wrongful termination/ harassment against Ms. Hass? Incidentally, their cases are on the more traditional path as outlined by the Star’s editorial: “Similar cases can point to years and years of back and forth through attorneys before reaching settlement terms.” Will they get their day in court? Will there be an independent investigation? Is the JPIA 100 percent responsible for the claims made against former city manager Cynthia Hass? Will the $279,000 settlement of Ms. Hass’ claim in any way conflict with the administration of those other claims? What will the future premium cost increases be to cover all the claims involving Ms. Hass?

There are plenty of “lines to read between” here, and I am having trouble distinguishing those lines representing the best interest of the city of Port Hueneme.

Steven Gama
Port Hueneme