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Controversial Town Hall Meeting on the Legalization of Marijuana

Santa Barbara- The potential legalization of marijuana has been a controversial issue for decades. In a unique discussion Thursday night, the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Museum of Natural History hosted a town hall meeting. The conversation wasn’t whether marijuana should be made legal. Instead, the question of the night was *if* marijuana is legalized sometime between now and 2016– what would that look like? And what public policies would need to be put in place? Former D.A, Stan Roden moderated the event, and a panel of experts discussed questions that included: how will marijuana be grown if legalized? Where will it be dispensed? Who will be authorized to sell it? What impact will it have on our youth? And how will it be regulated? Various sides of this provocative issue were presented, aimed at generating a dialogue and deepening our understanding as a society. The panel included physician, Dr. Dave Bearman, with background in substance and drug abuse treatment. Politcal advisor and consultant Alex Datig was present. Also, a PH.D expert on FDA drug regulation, Dr. Dale Gieringer, and Santa Barbara’s Deputy District Attorney Von Nguyen were on the panel. Currently, 17 states and Washington D.C have legalized the use of medical marijuana; but the federal government does not recognize marijuana — even for medical purposes–as a legal substance. Thursday’s Town Hall was part of a series of discussions on timely topics that matter. These meetings are held four times a year on various issues. The next one will be held sometime in October or November of this year. KEY News Reporter Shirin Rajaee reports.

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