The City Council’s public hearing on Jan. 28th concerning the issue of the new law passed by the voters in November that allows for the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries deserves thoughtful consideration by both residents and our council members.
We recognize that the basis for the creation of marijuana dispensaries are two-fold: First, that marijuana itself is a relatively harmless drug that the government really has no business in keeping out of the hands of adults and second, that marijuana has been shown to have proven medical benefits for those with cancer and other illnesses.
Moreover, we in general would agree with those who contend that maintaining marijuana’s illegal status only serves to bankroll the criminal element (much like Prohibition did in the 1920s). Further, there may be some truth to the notion that marijuana’s illegal status perversely makes it more available to our youth precisely because it is sold on the black market, which is wholly unregulated by the government. Moreover, because the criminal element is in charge of the marijuana market, our young people are dealing with criminals who then become intent on selling other, harder drugs to our youth who otherwise would have no contact with low-life drug dealers.
But those ideas are nice in theory. We fear that the reality of potential drug dispensaries in neighborhoods and communities such as Revere would be an altogether different story. The experience in other states where medical marijuana is sold legally has shown that more than just those truly in medical need are able to purchase marijuana.
Further, all of us would agree that even if marijuana were completely legal, it should not be made available to our young people for whom marijuana usage clearly is not a good thing (just as alcohol usage is not a good thing for those under 21). But unless medical marijuana is dispensed by licensed pharmacists like any other drug (and our understanding of this new law is that these dispensaries are not anywhere near what we think of as a drug store), we can envision its dispensation and usage soon running out of control and becoming more available to our youth.
So we agree with the efforts of our City Council to block marijuana dispensaries from coming to Revere. It is simply the wrong type of business at the wrong time and in the wrong place, namely, our community of Revere.