Willingness to host medical cannabis dispensing site creates unique opportunity for Greenville

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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When Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 46, the Darren Wesley ‘Ato’ Hall Compassion Act, into law May 17, 2021, it represented a moment I like to call “dipping the toe” into the medical cannabis end of the pool where a majority of our country has been swimming for quite a while now.

Granted, the law doesn’t make it legal to grow your own marijuana plants or ingest medical cannabis via smoking, vaping, or edible means, but I believe it’s a step in the right direction for many individuals who fight a daily battle with chronic pain or illness.

The law limits how many companies can hold integrated licenses, how many cultivator licenses are issued, and how many processor or dispensary licenses will be granted.

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During a Dec. 12 Greenville City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved an ordinance outlining Greenville’s willingness and interest in being one of the host sites for a medical cannabis dispensary, a secure location where patients authorized to obtain medical cannabis can procure information and obtain medical cannabis products to treat ailments diagnosed by a physician.

Given the likelihood of many municipalities in the state drafting ordinances of their own in order to be a part of what should be a highly-competitive process, I’m convinced these dispensary sites will be awarded to much larger municipalities in locations best-equipped to handle a large volume of patients.

The mere fact the leaders of our city drafted the ordinance shows how much public opinion has shifted when it comes to medical cannabis. Our city officials took the time to weigh the pros and cons, and acted in a manner they believe can best benefit the city.

In a state routinely in the red when it comes to revenue, it’s likely the city council and Mayor Dexter McLendon see the benefits of added tax revenue generated by potential patients visiting Greenville, if our city is chosen to host a dispensary.

To the naysayers out there who fight tooth and nail about cannabis being a “gateway drug,” my opinion has and always will be, “It’s a gateway, alright – a gateway to the refrigerator or a Taco Bell drive thru at 1 a.m.”

An even better rebuttal would be to focus on the gateway to unique opportunities to improve Greenville made possible through tax revenue generated.

The council showed its compassion through its consideration, and to me, that’s worthy of praise.