SANTA ANA (OCRegister) – Gianna Dragotto sits in her wheelchair at the 420 Central marijuana dispensary in Santa Ana, slowly chewing spoonfuls of her low-carb dinner, which is topped with cannabis oil.
Displayed throughout the dispensary are signs and pamphlets with the words “Vote Yes on Measure X,” a Costa Mesa-sponsored ballot measure that would allow her oils, called Myriam’s Hope, to be made in a designated part of the city.
Gianna, 12, of Costa Mesa, takes the oils with her food four times daily to cope with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, and congenital disorders of glycosylation, an inherited metabolic disorder that impairs the production of proteins and can result in mental and physical disabilities.
The 12- to 15-second drop seizures, which occur when abnormal brain activity results in the loss of muscle tone, began when she was three months old and increased to 200 per hour by the time she was 10, said Gianna’s mother, Natalie Dragotto.
On Tuesday, voters in Costa Mesa will be see nine measures on the ballot. Measure X, one of three marijuana-related initiatives, would allow the processing, research, distribution, development and testing of medical marijuana-related products in a designated industrial zone in the northern part of the city, but no dispensaries.
Producing the oils, which requires extraction, is illegal and therefore not regulated, making it impossible to tell if the products are safe, said Robert Taft, owner of 420 Central and the proponent behind Measure V who now favors the city’s initiative over his own.
“I don’t know how it’s made and I own the store,” he said. “These products are made by people in the business that have a great reputation and following, but can I tell you what their lab looks like or how clean or secure it is? No. Measure X solves all that.”
In addition, a 6 percent tax would be levied on the businesses.
Whichever measure gets the most votes above 50 percent wins.
Natalie and David Dragotto have advocated for Measure X by walking door-to-door, talking with residents and handing out literature, arguing that the initiative will allow medical marijuana businesses to develop their products in a safe and clean environment.
“I’ve gotten weird looks from people when I’m with Gianna,” Natalie Dragotto said. “It’s about educating them.”
The Dragottos get the cannabis oils at 420 Central where Taft sponsors the $1,200 monthly cost.
Before supplying the oils at his store, Taft had to travel outside the county to purchase the products, usually to Rancho Cucamonga or Northern California. Only a handful of Orange County dispensaries sell them now, he said.