Letter to the editor: Right to grow

This week it has come to my attention that a petition was submitted to the city to strike the home growing point from the ordinance the city enacted last summer. The lead petitioner, Joan Couture and other citizens in Alamosa, submitted a petition to ban the outdoor growing of marijuana by patients and citizens who prefer cannabis over other recreational substances.

This petition was designed to force the city council to hold a special election by July that will cost the city thousands of dollars. This petition is an attempt to take away a very special civil liberty that is granted by the State of Colorado to its citizens. Here in the Valley, there is a typical three-month growing season for outdoor gardens and commercial agriculture grow operations of many types of wonderful things to eat and enjoy. Why is cannabis so controversial and stigmatized that this action was needed? Petitions are a wonderful way to put ideas and laws into place but they cannot and should not be used for one’s own personal or religious agenda or to take away the rights of others when there is no problem to begin with.

Cannabis outdoor growing in Alamosa has not been a problem so far, so why make it out to be something to do away with? Chief Duane Oakes was asked directly by me if there were any issues last summer related to outdoor grows in the city. He stated that there were a "handful" of complaints made and they were checked out. He stated that perhaps one of them may have been over the limit but that he didn't pursue it, but the growers were made aware that they could take other steps if necessary if the police received any more complaints.

Home growing is the best alternative for Alamosa city dwellers at this point since safe access to cannabis means driving 30 miles or more to the nearest dispensary. This is a real struggle for some who cannot afford dispensary prices or make the drive to other counties. This ordinance was enacted in case neighbors are suspected of a grey or black market grow. If my neighbor is growing cannabis and it appears suspicious, then I would have the option to call in a complaint for it to be checked out. This ordinance is not for those who oppose cannabis home grows, but for those who want to grow it legally and safely in their own gardens. This point has been missed by those who want to remove this part of the ordinance.

I don't know why Joan Couture and her supporters are so intent on disallowing home grows. This right to grow is something the State of Colorado has given to its citizens. This is a valuable option to people since there are no shops in the city. To be frank, I suspect this is a religiously motivated vendetta and should be tossed in the trash, and not force the city to spend thousands of dollars on a special election. This is why our group waited until the Nov 2017 ballot instead of forcing a special election before then.

My last point is this, since when can someone infringe on the rights of patients and citizens and it be ok? Isn't the entire basis of having rights is that no one can take them away? Don't your rights end when they infringe on the rights of others? I hope the council can find a way around this predicament. It amounts to extortion really, do what we say even if it will cost you money to do so. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the petition process, obviously, but to strike one thing from an ordinance that doesn't even pertain to them personally is absolutely ridiculous. I will be sure to fight for the rights of our medical patients and for those who want to take up home growing as a hobby. It is our right to grow in Colorado and hopefully the city council will agree and not enact it without allowing others to speak up.


Shanna Hobbs

Citizens United for Cannabis

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SLV-Cannabis-Education 


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