Eastern Plumas doctor weighs in on negative impacts of commercial cultivation

I’ve been delighted to be part of the Plumas County community since 2002 when I joined Eastern Plumas Health Care as an emergency physician. Ours is a wonderful community, and as Dr. Jeff Kepple emphasized in his public letter, that is in no small part due to the wonders of nature that surround us all here in Plumas County.

I’ve been medical director of Eastern Plumas emergency department and hospital since 2012.As an emergency physician, I see many patients who use marijuana on a daily basis, as well as, of course, those who smoke tobacco and drink alcohol.I also see many who use prescription narcotics and anxiety reducing medications.Sadly, I see, as well, many who are in the grip of methamphetamine use.

These are all psychoactive drugs. That is, they are drugs that change a person’s mental or emotional state. What I see, with clarity, is that every psychoactive drug is prone to becoming a crutch. People tend to use psychoactive drugs to manage their own moods and emotions. That deprives people of the opportunity to work out their personal difficulties in a natural way. Worse, psychoactive drugs tend to become the chief priority in a person’s life, leading to all sorts of dysfunctional behavior, even sometimes, in the worst cases, violence and crime. That is why psychoactive drugs, such as marijuana, have traditionally been considered vices. They are harmful, in greater or lesser degree, to those who use them.

To allow commercial marijuana cultivation in Plumas County would bring a destructive and degrading influence into our community.A culture is made of people, and those who make their living by cultivating marijuana are inextricably bound to the downstream effects of marijuana use and so would permanently bind our community to the whole culture of marijuana dependence.

We, all of us, in Plumas County would think of ourselves differently if commercial marijuana growing is allowed.Rather than viewing ourselves mainly in the light of the beauty of the nature surrounding us, we would see ourselves more and more as a center of marijuana growing culture. Allowing commercial marijuana growing would produce innumerable subtly harmful effects in our community that would increase and expand with time.

That would not be good for our community, and it is not what the people of Plumas County want.

I strongly advise against allowing commercial growing of marijuana in Plumas County.

6 thoughts on “Eastern Plumas doctor weighs in on negative impacts of commercial cultivation

  • October 15, 2017 at 6:34 pm
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    Physician heal thyself. You are SO full of road apples and cow-pies (to put it politely). You REALLY should be ashamed of yourself. I hope you don’t have to go through chemo-therapy…or, maybe I do. Then you might see the benefits. I’ve been there four times and I know what I’m talking about. Since 1981 when I first had cancer I have experienced the chemo as well as becoming addicted to morphine and dulaudid. I have also become addicted (again) to opioids every single time I entered hospital for cancer since. STOP pushing the lies about cannabis. You are hurting far too many people with your ignorance and hysteria.

    • October 15, 2017 at 8:07 pm
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      Thank you, Lurker. There seemed to be a huge chasm in the logic that was missing in Dr. Swanson’s letter that I sure couldn’t leap. For years we have not allowed growing in Plumas County, but we have cannabis smokers and meth users. If we allow cannabis to be grown…? I think I was supposed to just assume we would have more cannabis smokers (and what were the meth users doing in this letter at all?) We might actually. I would have bought brownies for my hubby to see if we could cut back or end his opioid use. Wouldn’t that have been horrible? no.

  • October 16, 2017 at 1:42 pm
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    Paul Swanson M.D.’s logic is flawed, He appears to be against people consuming marijuana, however what we are talking about is legalizing commercial growing not banning the use of cannabis. If your intent is to stop people from consuming cannabis you are barking up the wrong tree, people have and will continue to consume cannabis regardless of it’s legal status, Also, here is no correlation between cannabis being legal and an increase in usage, in fact if anything the opposite is true as there has been no increase in usage in legal states, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/colorado-s-teen-marijuana-usage-dips-after-legalization/ . But possibly even more pertinent, in regards to the Doctors specific statement, is the fact that whether people consume marijuana is not even what is being discussed or decided on. If your concern is about cannabis consumption, you could possibly start an after school program to discuss substance abuse, or promote and/or provide healthy activities for our youth, or create an outreach program to provide education .
    Whether someone consumes marijuana or not and banning commercial grows are completely different subjects. Again we are not deciding whether or not people consume marijuana, please be smart people.

  • October 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm
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    Don’t worry Doc. Many of these people have either an axe to grind or they are in the pro grow minority. They’ve been selling the same snake oil ’round here for quite awhile now. If you read the label on the bottle it says something to the tune of ‘If I can grow pot in Plumas and make a lot of money your life will somehow be better.’ Hardy har har. It’s looking like the BOS. is going to vote for a no grow moratorium and those folks have started to pout like children. I could care less if they smoke pot but it sure sucks to hear them whine.

  • October 20, 2017 at 9:43 am
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    As a former opiate addict after failed back fusion surgery I can speak from experience that Medical Marijuana saved my life! If it weren’t for the addition of medical marijuana to my life I would have continued eating 10-15 20mg Oxycodone (Percocet) pills a day and would have followed through with ending my life! They bring you to a dark and destructive place and you feel worthless and depressed and most doctors answer to your pain and suffering is MORE pharmaceuticals, not good.
    I gave up smoking marijuana in my late 20’s , I’m 50 now, and had no problems doing so. It wasn’t until my failed back fusions and never ending chronic and crippling pain along with all the mental,isssues associated with my injury and the side effects of the pills, the never ending pills, that I tried medical marijuana and it was life changing. My depression gradually improved and thoughts of ending my life stopped the less opiates I took.
    It was a tough 7 month process to get off opiates (20mg Percocets) with horrendous withdrawals, nausea, cramps, depression etc but with the help of my medical marijuana , and an awesome PA in Greenville, it made the process not as devastating and much more manageable. Also the fact that I haven’t relapsed once, not ONCE says something about its healing qualities.
    I know that I would not be here today if it wasn’t for the help I received in getting offf the opiates and adding the use of medical marijuana. I don’t medicate, smoke all day, only in the evenings when my pain is severe and it keeps me awake at night but when I do it relieves the pain, muscle spasms and insomnia and allows me to be a working positive part of society, something you can’t even consider when hooked on opiates and high as a kite.
    I don’t smoke everyday, I also use tinctures, edibles and CBD infused rubs, but am glad I have the option to use something natural with no side effects or long term damage to my brain or organs, all things you have with pharmaceuticals.
    So I see no problems with allowing commercial grows in Plumas County as it will give this county a much needed infusion of millions of dollars in tax money, create jobs for this poor rural county, and make access to quality medications more affordable to a county with many poverty level individuals who can’t afford traditional pharmaceuticals.
    Just be open minded to the benefits of having such a system in our community as the life it saves one day could be a loved ones or yours!

  • October 25, 2017 at 6:07 am
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    I am a recreational MJ user, and it is true that it changes my emotional state. That is why I use it. It relaxes me, increases my enjoyment, and mysteriously leads me to interesting thoughts. Good thoughts about the people and world around me. I’m retired, but during my demanding career I didn’t use it because it tends to muddle thinking, affecting my performance and my responsibilities at work. I believe that there are people who shouldn’t use it because it can lead to serious problems. I wish little craft grows could exist, but to embrace Commercial would validate use for those who are too young to have the life skills to weigh the decision properly. When taken too young, MJ interrupts the maturing process. This happened to me when I was young and I have paid the price. It’s complicated.

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