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Let’s reframe the discussion as a banquet and not a battle

I am greatly encouraged by the discussion currently taking place on the editorial pages of our local newspaper about issues related to cannabis.

While there may still be great distance between opposing points of view, I feel that ever so slowly, we are all moving towards the center. I hope we can continue this process, and find the common ground where respectful conversation can replace adversity and animosity.

Sheriff Greg Hagwood brought a very unique perspective to local cannabis issues.More than anyone, he has seen all sides of the matter, and especially the ones involving conflict.His comment that “… the belligerence of some has resulted in the loss of trust and credibility for all” is a fair and a critical observation of the recent past that helped create the current hostility. As we move away from the era of prohibition and black markets, his recommendation for everyone to exhibit good behavior is wise counsel.

As I represent a pro-business perspective for cannabis, and especially health beneficial applications for cannabis, I want to apologize to everyone in Plumas county for the aggressive and less than friendly approach of some local cannabis growers. Clearly, there is as much fear on the pro cannabis side as there is on the anti-commercial cannabis side.

But this is not surprising given how cannabis growers in Plumas county have, until recently, had to hide their operations from public view, and keep a very low overall profile .Having been forced to adopt such reclusive habits over the years (decades) has not helped local cannabis growers develop good business practices, or positive social skills.Please “give them a break” as they too make this historic transition to legal cannabis activity.

At the same time, I can empathize with persons who view cannabis negatively, and the profound effect this historic transition must be having on their view of our county, and our society. Change is difficult for everyone, and some more than others. I support the concept that we make every effort to address the concerns of local commercial cannabis skeptics before moving forward towards any type of commercial cannabis activity in Plumas county.

Patrick Luscri, who has written two recent Where I Stand commentaries, stated that “we are in a real battle here.” Framing this controversy as a “battle” immediately sets up an adversarial situation where those involved must wear their armor, sharpen their weapons, and hide behind their fortresses. People only take up “battle positions” when they are afraid of someone doing them great harm. But assuming a “battle perspective” makes it inevitable that matters will dissolve into the “nasty fight” which Mr. Luscri claims he wants to avoid. I sincerely request that Mr. Luscri tone down his rhetoric, and assume a more open position towards persons whose viewpoint is different from his own.

The question before us now is, Who will be the courageous ones to walk away from fear, and to embrace compassion?Who will first lay down their weapons, remove their armor, and step out of their fortress to greet the opposition as friends and neighbors. Who will open their minds to really hear the concerns of those with opposite viewpoints, and who will consider every possible means to find common ground for peaceful resolution of this local cannabis dispute.

Instead of viewing this matter as a battle, may I suggest that we frame this matter as a banquet … where people of many dietary practices will be attending, including vegetarians, meat lovers, fruitarians, vegans, fast food lovers, etc. Despite our different tastes and opinions, we can co-operate to prepare a feast for everyone, and where no one is left out.

Finding a solution to local commercial and medical cannabis issues where no one is left out is my goal for the work I am doing through Plumas Cannabis Connections. Any transition of a magnitude such as what we are now experiencing requires a lot of healing work to be done, and for everyone in Plumas county. Making this transition in a peaceful and positive manner will require great compassion on the part of everyone. I will do my best, and encourage anyone, and everyone to join me.

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