Vote no on recreational marijuana ban
The voters of both Massachusetts and Newton voted decisively in support of legalizing marijuana.
Before the first recreational retail establishment has opened in Newton, marijuana opponents began raising all the same issues, that were raised when medical marijuana facilities were recently proposed — children, traffic, the black market, the image of the city, dodgy characters, smoking in the neighborhood.
All those concerns proved to be wildly overblown or unfounded. The operation of Newton’s medical marijuana facility has been completely uneventful. There’s no reason to believe the recreational marijuana shops will be any different.
These shops will be new clean, quiet businesses that will pay far more local taxes than any other retail businesses — dedicated taxes to Newton that no other businesses pay. These taxes will go toward schools and roads, and services that the city provides.
In a city with many empty retail store fronts, in a city that has far too few commercial tax payers, we should be welcoming these new businesses with open arms. They will be both the most highly regulated businesses in the city and pay far more taxes than any other comparable businesses.
Vote No to the ban on recreational marijuana shops in Newton.
Why I support retail cannabis in Newton
The use, possession and retail sale of cannabis is legal In Massachusetts since 2016, and the only thing that banning retail sale in Newton would do is put the city at a financial disadvantage. We have the opportunity to impose a local sales tax, and the money could be invested in a host of city projects that are currently lacking funds. Given that Newton is not positioned to generate much tax income outside real estate, it would be foolish to pass up this opportunity.
Opponents fear that local sales would target children, but the reality is that the industry is highly regulated in how it can operate and market its products. No teenager will be able to enter retail stores and buy cannabis products.
Furthermore, if we allow retail sales, we can demand that the city use some of the tax income for education and prevention programs, to combat the problem of teenage drug abuse that is sadly not a new issue in Newton.
Support adult use marijuana
In November Newton voters will have many ballot questions to consider, including recently added ballot question concerning recreational marijuana in Newton. In 2016 a majority of Newton voters supported the ballot question allowing for recreational marijuana. 25,516 for, 20,796 against.
So why are we voting again? A citizen group is pushing for Newton to “opt out” of recreational marijuana. My daily trip to Whole Foods for weeks was spent listening to fear mongering people trying to get signatures on a petition. Their concerns focused on potential vehicle traffic, “pot shops” not right fit for Newton, house values plummeting, and yes occasionally what about the kids. If these arguments seem familiar, they are. These are the same arguments used to oppose any change in Newton. The civic minded person in me was particularly unhappy to see they actually hired a person to gather signatures. If you don’t have enough volunteers to gather signatures, I question the level of community support.
State officials cautiously moved forward after the 2016 election to determine the best process to regulate the sale of recreational marijuana. The Cannabis Control Commission was established with a charge to safely, equitably and effectively implement and administer the laws enabling access to both medical and adult use marijuana in the Commonwealth. I would suggest anyone who is concerned with the implementation of recreational marijuana or as the CCC refers to it adult use marijuana consult their webpage https://mass-cannabis-control.com.
Why is there a second question? The City Council, in an attempt to address concerns of too many establishments, suggested a compromise. Like the state, taking a cautious step forward. Given what the Council was presented and the difficulty of reaching consensus with 24 people, this compromise is fair. I will be voting No on ban and Yes on limits.
Chestnut Terrace, Newton Centre