Letter to the Editor:
I am opposed to the licensing of retail Cannabis businesses in the City of Burbank.
I tire of the ad hominem attacks on me every time I have opposed the industry. I am told I am a “boomer” and to update my “Jurassic” thinking. I have been told that I am a “racist” because I oppose the industry. For some reason the word “racist” and identity politics has become so vogue and people are so afraid of being ostracised by others, it is easy to throw that ball fast and hard and people immediately shut up. The word “racist” has been weaponized so fast and so much no one even knows what that means.
My experience is far more specific and personal.
I am bi-ethnic!
I am a “black” person because my father is a “black” East Indian. To most people, I appear “caucasion” but I grew up in an East Indian family and with 100% East Indian culture.
I am not a “boomer” since I was born in 1969. I have firsthand experience with the effects of cannabis addiction because my older brother was born during a time of very high cannabis use, he became quite addicted to it, my other siblings used to smoke it around me when I was just five years old. One of my nephews also became a full-time smoker and addicted to it. I lost a close friend to cannabis addiction who drank, smoked and drove constantly and eventually died after being hit by a car when both high and drunk. He was a television star whose career rapidly fell down and his producers were in a constant state of worry over his on-set drug use.
I had a former tenant who smoked cannabis and became addicted then moved to smoking meth and became both addicted and homeless before the age of 27.
It is interesting to me that people who have never smoked cannabis are more likely to be in support of it coming to Burbank. Virtually every sober, former cannabis user I know has told me it’s bad. A close and trusted friend is currently a business partner to a star so famous, more than 90% of Americans know his name. He was a daily cannabis smoker for many years. He said just last month, “It does more harm than good. I’m glad I stopped”.
Lady Gaga has come out publicly to denounce smoking cannabis saying she was seriously addicted to it and it was hurting her career.
As to false stereotypes, I have firsthand experience with this! I lived in South Central for 5 years and I lived in West Adams from 1987 to 1991 and rest assured that these communities have close families, a large percentage of the residents attend church weekly and rest assured, most of the residents in my former neighborhood were adamantly opposed to cannabis use! It’s nothing like the false stereotypes I have seen in films and on television. If you don’t believe me, take a drive down to my old neighborhood. Visit Leimert Park and speak with residents!
When I drive around Los Angeles, I see what has happened to a once-beautiful city that is now in decay. Many people are moving away to escape the drugs and crime.
Burbank remains an oasis. It will not be so nice when cannabis comes into our community in a big way and that’s what the powerful cannabis lobbyists are pushing for right now. They have billions to spend and will do and say anything to spread their product.
And cannabis just two decades ago had low THC and today’s cannabis has up to 28% THC. ER admissions for edibles overdoses are way up. Just Google the subject of emergency room visits and cannabis and you will see what this drug is really costing taxpayers. Far more than the cannabis taxes the government is collecting. And many black market sellers are out there using dating apps to move their illegal products in cities that have legalized these retail cannabis shops. So do not believe the sales pitch that you hear that legalizing the shops in Burbank will reduce crime or reduce illegal drugs. It will not.
Anything you inhale that is a combustible substance will hurt your lungs. It will take time for all this smoking to catch up with people and we really do not want to be picking up the broken pieces by then.
We must fight hard to keep drugs including cannabis out of our city. Stop this drug here and now. Stoners can live somewhere else. We do not need high times in Burbank.
Christopher Matthew Spencer, resident since 1991