With deep respect for Pastors Binion, Lewis and Loera, I am yet another Fresno pastor who strongly supports the medical marijuana tax resolution being proposed by Councilmembers Olivier, Baines, and Caprioglio. Some of my reasoning is practical. Regulating marijuana for medical use deters the black market and cuts off some sources of gang income. Then, tax income can be used to help revitalize southwest Fresno and downtown, which need infusions of investment.
But I also support the resolution for moral and humanitarian reasons. I’ve seen terrible suffering caused by brutal chemotherapy treatments or unrelenting chronic pain. Medical marijuana can often bring temporary relief of that suffering (without addictive opioid use). According to my Unitarian Universalist faith, withholding relief from those who could otherwise legally find comfort is inhumane and immoral. The Bible tells us that Jesus walked among vulnerable and hurting people and offered physical healing. He couldn’t bear to see people in pain. I believe that if Jesus was alive today, and his mother or a dear disciple was suffering from debilitating nausea caused by chemotherapy, he would encourage them to seek natural, safe, and effective recourse through the use of regulated medical marijuana purchased at a dispensary.
Rev. Tim Kutzmark, minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno