Davis Cannabis Town Hall addresses community concerns

ZOË REINHARDT / AGGIE

UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services teams up with City of Davis to host informational meeting

A “Davis Cannabis Town Hall” was hosted on Nov. 8 at the Veteran’s Memorial Theater to discuss the growing presence of cannabis in the community. Around 140 residents were in attendance and six speakers covered a variety of issues.

The discussion panel included Stephanie Lake, a UC Davis Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Intervention Services Coordinator; Officer Ronald Trn from the City of Davis Police Department; Doctor Karen Mo, a UC Davis physician; Mayra Miranda, from the California Department of Public Health and Patrick Ward and Myra Casillas, two young adults who discussed their experiences with cannabis.  

UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services partnered with the City of Davis to organize the event, taking initiative to educate Davis residents and students about this increasingly relevant topic.

“Since the legalization of recreational marijuana is new, not a lot of folks are aware of what the legal aspects of it are, or what medicinal use versus recreational use really means,” said Supraja Sarabanakunar, an Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs student coordinator at UC Davis. “They’re not really sure how harmful or how beneficial it is, so the point of this town hall is to let the community of Davis, including both residents and UC Davis students, understand matters regarding the legalization of marijuana.”

With the legalization of marijuana, many have questions about how it will affect the Davis community. This event didn’t take place as a result of complaints from the community, but rather as a preventative measure as the presence of cannabis becomes more common in the Davis community.

The university and city both felt it was important that members of the community had a clear understanding of what cannabis is and what its future in Davis looks like.

Officer Ronald Trn is currently assigned to cannabis regulation for the entire city and addressed many of the logistics that came with the legalization of marijuana. He started with the basics, telling the audience about the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, which allows recreational cannabis use at 21 years of age.

“As far as police departments go, we don’t even necessarily look in terms of enforcement,” he said, also commenting on his predictions for dispensaries in Davis. “We have one delivery service with two more that are coming soon […] In my estimation, we will get another 10 or 15 cannabis businesses in the next year.”

Trn ended the discussion with a message to the audience: “Our main goal is to educate people, so they are are able to make the right choices.”

The remaining panelists covered topics such as different types of cannabis, where individuals can grow and use the drug, as well as different health logistics. Mo, who felt the forum was “stacked” against cannabis, gave her professional medical opinion regarding the benefits of the drug for medicinal use.

“I do believe cannabis has a role in medical use and that’s really different than recreational use,” Mo said. “It is an alternative to help people’s chronic pain, and I am doing that.”

Carla and Tom Mahoney, a Davis couple, explained their reasoning for attending the town hall from a parenting perspective.

“For me, I’m here as a parent,” Carla Mahoney said. “I have two kids, and I just want to know what we’re dealing with so we can talk about it at home.”

Tom Mahoney was more worried about the prevalence of the drug.

“This is my concern — I haven’t heard of any prevention and treatment, because with the increase in dispensaries there’s going to be more people addicted to the drug,” Tom Mahoney said. “How are we going to address that in society?”

 

Written by: Claire Dodd — campus@theaggie.org