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‘Stirring the Pot’ Forum Puts Discussion of Legalized Marijuana on Front Burner

Santa Barbara Foundation, Natural History Museum want to explore ramifications if the drug were already legal

In an attempt to understand and discuss what life in California might be like if marijuana were legal, the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are hosting a public forum called — appropriately — “Stirring the Pot.”

The latest in a series of Santa Barbara Foundation town hall meetings on socially relevant topics, this one begins at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Santa Barbara Central Library’s Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu St.

Alixe Mattingly, the Santa Barbara Foundation’s vice president of communications and marketing, said the forum’s objective is to get beyond the question of whether marijuana should be legal and instead focus on the ramifications if the drug is legalized in the year 2016.

“This is not for or against legalization of marijuana,” Mattingly told Noozhawk. “Assume that the legalization of marijuana does happen between now and 2016 ... What would that look like and what are the public policies that would need to be put in place between now and then?”

The forum will feature several local panelists with expertise on the subject, including Dr. David Bearman, a pioneer in the field of medical marijuana; Alexandra Datig, president of High Road L.A., a Los Angeles-based public affairs firm; Dale Gieringer Ph.D., director of California NORML, a pro-legalization group; and Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Von Nguyen.

Questions to be covered include juvenile use, growing and regulation, state and federal tax revenues, who will be authorized to dispense it, and the chances it will be legalized in six years or less.

“The goal of the town halls is to provide an opportunity to learn and engage in civil dialogue on timely issues of mutual concern,” Mattingly said. “The idea (of the series) is to deepen understanding on different issues that are timely and complicated. Everyone can learn from greater dialogue.”

Noozhawk intern Sam Loomis can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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