Bags of marijuana
Four-ounce bags of marijuana. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

By J.A. Ellis

I have lived in Lemon Grove since 2005. I appreciate the small town feel of the folks who live here.

We have seen a controversy recently, as medical marijuana retailers have attempted to locate their businesses in Lemon Grove wherever they desire — whether that be near a daycare facility or a school or the like.

The pot peddlers, no doubt, believe they are fighting for their right to establish a business wherever they want. Beyond this veil of pretense, let’s get to reality.

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Two months ago, I was approached by a young woman outside of the Sprouts store, wanting me to sign her petition. She claimed that this would help “bring money into our city.” The truth is, with enough signatures, this would put the initiative on a special ballot that would cost the city $300,000.

To this woman and to all the proponents of this initiative, I, for one, say you are not welcome here.

And I may not be alone. According to a Nov. 1 press release from Lemon Grove City Manager Lydia Romero, “The City has received numerous complaints from citizens of improper signature gathering tactics.” In that release, it was announced that on Oct. 23, the San Diego Superior Court ruled the proposed Medical Marijuana Initiative supporters improperly gathered signatures due to an “incomplete official title,” basically leaving out vital information that signers would need to know. The supporters now have until January 2018 to gather new signatures, this time legally.

But my motivation here is not based on legalities. My motivation for keeping Lemon Grove free of pot stores is not based on race, religion, legal status, or orientation. I believe in the rights — Constitutional or otherwise — of citizens to create free-market businesses. My preference to ban pot retailers is not because I think smoking marijuana ultimately can harm the user’s health and well-being, or the health of a neighborhood.

No. They are not welcome because of the basic human qualities these proponents appear to lack, including integrity, consideration and care.

They do not care about our community because their initiative will profit them only, and actually cost the city upwards of $300,000 for a special election. They do not consider others in wanting to plant their businesses wherever they wish, regardless of the desires of the residents. And they do not have integrity if they are taking our city to court, trying to force their way, and gaining signatures by lying to the people outside of our businesses and homes.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. implored us not to judge a person based on their race, creed or color of their skin, but by the content of their character. And from what I have seen, these people have no content and no character.

There is no reason that a city cannot say “no thank you” to those who approach our fair town lacking basic characteristics of integrity, consideration and care.

For the good of all, I hope their initiative never passes.

J.A. Ellis is a Lemon Grove resident and local business owner.