Dear Editor,

I am an international real estate businessman living in Argentina but I travel to Mount Shasta for three months every year. Every summer, hundreds of us South Americans visit Mount Shasta for educational and spiritual events. Those of us who love Mount Shasta are connected with each other through these annual trips to your city and through Facebook and emails.

Last year when we came we experienced much more marijuana odor exposure than in other years past. People from my country Argentina, as well as Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, and many other countries have been writing each other about what is going on in Mount Shasta. We know that you want to improve your economy with more and more marijuana and since we in South America also struggle with our economies we understand that.

As a businessman I travel all over South America and I ask you to consider that drugs including marijuana actually made our economies worse in the long run because basing your economy on taxes from a drug brings many problems that taxes cannot pay for; because addicted people are not able to make your economy competitive. We have negative energy from the marijuana that make our countries violent, unsafe and poor. While you are trying to bring more marijuana into your town, we are trying to free our countries of marijuana and the other drugs. Why would you go backwards instead of freeing your own people from addiction? An addicted population brings more costs to a community than tax revenue can offset.

Your decisions about Mount Shasta will affect not only your residents but all tourists and international visitors and your tourism revenue will be adversely impacted. The South American spiritual tour groups who come for the Sacred Mountain experience do not want to visit Mount Shasta anymore because it stinks when you go into the shops and too many people are reeking from pot. There are also streets where you smell a lot of pot. Many of us are wondering if we should find another sacred community in America or Europe that is more favourable to tourists.

If your plan is to open as many pot businesses as you can, you will lose international tourists like us, who spend money in your hotels, restaurants, and shops and many of us rent your vacation homes. It is not just us South American tourists you will lose. We met many European and Asian visitors in Mount Shasta who also complained about the pot smells.

Is Mount Shasta going to stop being a place for tourists because cannabis is so much more important to you?

As an international English speaking South American businessman, I know how important tax money is to a town. But speaking for the South Americans who have been communicating with me, we South Americans hope that your decisions will be guided by wisdom. It will be sad for us to stop coming to Mount Shasta because the air is full of the marijuana smell instead of fresh mountain breezes.

Gustavo Frank

Buenos Aires, Argentina