Tuolumne County Opponents Of Commercial Marijuana Speak Out
Sonora, CA — Two weeks after around 20 supporters of expanding commercial marijuana voiced discouragement to the Tuolumne County Supervisors about a lack of action, there was a similar-sized group that showed up today opposing commercial cannabis.
During the public comment period, which opens up every board of supervisors meeting, there was a mix of educators, pastors, parents, a realtor, and others, who wanted to voice caution about loosening any types of rules or regulations regarding commercial marijuana.
The State of California allows residents to possess marijuana for recreational use, but Tuolumne County has a ban on commercial sales and cultivation.
Those in attendance spoke about the negatives of marijuana abuse, the desire to keep the county “family-friendly” and highlighted a criminal element surrounding the drug.
One of the speakers was former Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Margie Bulkin, who stated, “We are forever, in perpetuity, constructing a place for future generations to enjoy…as a lifetime protector, and steward, of children, I cannot accept a place such as our beautiful county where the cultivation of marijuana may characterize the future that our roughly 6,500 children in Tuolumne County might inherit.”
Local resident Richard Maguire urged the supervisors to stand up to cannabis supporters, arguing, “Tuolumne County does not need to be captained by a ship of fools, it needs to be captained by people with wisdom and discernment.”
Jeff and Courtney Muzio, owners of the Hazy Bulldog Farms medical marijuana dispensary in Sonora, took issue with the characterization being portrayed by the speakers. They argued that legalizing commercial marijuana would eliminate some of the current issues being witnessed in the county.
Jeff Muzio stated, “We need to be vertically integrated so that we can compete with the black market that is selling to these people’s children and is growing next to everybody’s houses that are destroying the community. The only weapon against that in this community is a legal cannabis operation that will push out these people.”
Courtney Muzio said she has witnessed cannabis help a mother stop drinking, and people who have been able to phase out traditional pharmaceutical drugs.
She added, “The fact is, cannabis is here to stay, and if we don’t open up conversations about it, we won’t have the option of keeping it local and family-run. Because the big corporations will come in and change our family-friendly county.”
The Muzio’s brought their six and three year-old children with them to the podium.
Bob Kirk of Mi Wuk Village later referenced a burglary that occurred at the Hazy Bulldogs Farms on Mono Way, to raise concerns about a criminal element that the drug can attract. He also mentioned a murder that occurred at an illegal grow in Jupiter about a year ago.
District Three Supervisor Anaiah Kirk concluded by stating that Tuolumne County needs to prevent the expansion of marijuana as long as the state allows it to do so. He noted, “If the state takes it away from us, and forces us into their corner, we’ll deal with it then. But as long as I have the ability to opt-out, I’m going to opt-out as a father, a husband and lover of this community.”
The supervisors do not take action on items addressed during the public comment period. Community resident Carol Doud was the final speaker, who spoke neither for or against, but urged the supervisors to address the topic in the near future. “Public comment has been held hostage for two meetings,” she said. “And clearly you need to put this on the agenda.”
Today’s public comment period, primarily focused on cannabis, lasted over a half an hour.