Vote Yes to ban recreational marijuana shops in Acton

Uh, didn’t we already vote to legalize recreational marijuana?

Yes, we did. In November 2016, a majority of Massachusetts voted Yes on ballot Question 4, which legalized adult-use marijuana in Massachusetts. In Acton, the measure passed by 544 votes, out of more than 12,600 votes cast. While some portion of the “Yes” voters fully supported the measure, it’s likely that many others thought they were simply decriminalizing marijuana (which was done via ballot initiative in 2008). They didn’t realize that full legalization would lead to commercialization within their own towns and across the Commonwealth.

Much to the chagrin of legalization supporters, Question 4 contained language which would allow towns to "opt out", or ban, the testing, cultivation and/or distribution of adult use marijuana in their communities. Dozens of communities have done so, and on November 6, Acton voters will have the opportunity to make this choice for ourselves. I’m betting that there are at least 544 “yes” voters that regret their vote and will be glad for the opportunity to reconsider the impact that this will have on our community. I am asking you to please vote YES to ban the adult-use marijuana industry from Acton.

There are some who argue that legalization of recreational marijuana will lead to safer consumption, as the products must be tested and regulated. But today’s pot is not your Woodstock variety. In the '60s and '70s, marijuana contained about 5% THC (the chemical that produces the high). Today’s varieties can contain THC concentrations as high as 80%. It’s far more potent and far more dangerous – especially for teenagers.

Some supporters use the possibility of enhanced revenue to states and municipalities as justification to legalize the industry. Towns can add a sales tax of 3% on the sale of marijuana. The average shop grosses about $1.5 million annually. This would yield about $45,000 in taxes. Could this possibly offset the added expense of more first responders? That won’t even cover the cost of a single patrol officer in Acton.

Then there’s the unmeasurable impact it would have on some of our kids. Legalization will surely lead to normalization and increased consumption of marijuana. Yes, I know it’s in the high school already. Yes, I know kids smoke and drink and make all sorts of dumb decisions. But I also know that legalization would make it even easier. The linked graphic shows a clear correlation between use among 12-17 year-olds in states that have legalized recreational and/or medical marijuana (1).

While there is uncertainty surrounding the effects of cannabis use in adults and teenagers, studies suggest teenagers are at greater risk of permanent effects(2). It’s even more dangerous for kids who are already dealing with other mental issues such as ADHD (3), as well as other mental and emotional disorders (4).

I cannot fathom why any parent, or any community, would deliberately take such a risk with their children. The opioid epidemic is in the news daily, as is the growing use of juuling in our own junior high and high schools. This is no time to ease access to recreational marijuana.

Let’s be honest – the pot industry does not care about our kids. They’re no different than Big Tobacco. The more users the better. But Massachusetts voters are smarter than that. At last count, 105 communities have enacted bans or zoning restrictions. Of the 40 “yes” towns that have considered bans such as that we’ll vote on here in Acton, 29 (73%) have enacted bans.

Big Pot was successful at the state level (aided by millions of out-of-state support), but they’re not having as much luck at the local level. Many surrounding towns have enacted bans, including Concord, Sudbury, and Westford. Stow and Boxborough have already passed bans at Town Meeting and will take a ballot votes sometime in the next several months.

On November 6, Acton voters will receive two ballots. One is the regular state ballot. The second will be a Special Town Election ballot (shown above) on which voters can choose to ban recreational marijuana from Acton. Please vote YES to ban recreational marijuana in Acton on November 6.

For additional information, please check the ActonCARES website at ActonCARES

(1) Past Month Use

(2) Teen Brain Effects

(3) ADHD Danger

(4) Teen Anxiety

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We want our weed

This is absurd. We can buy booze all over the place, including in restaurants. Some of us would like to buy our weed as easily. And we voted to do so. Enough with the obstructionism.

Vote to ban!

No, we voted to decriminalize pot across the state, and we voted to allow towns to opt-out. That was the law we passed in 2016. This ban is just our way of saying, okay it's decriminalized, but we don't want the retail stores in a tight-community with stores within easy reach of our schools and our kids. We have the option, according to the law, and we are exercising that option.

Cannabis shops - a safer route

I believe the author is well intentioned. But she does not grasp the real threat with pot. I do not advocate the use of cannabis - especially by kids. But the establishment of retail shops will lead to more public safety. Safer product, less violence. 1. Pot is readily available now. A shop won't make it any easier to obtain it. It's already ridiculously easy to get. For anyone. 2. The quality of "contraband" is dubious and could easily contain toxic substances - other drugs, herbicides, pesticides - big health risks. 3. Your kids are either going to try it or not. Just like alcohol and sex. Teach them. Don't try to control them with prohibitions. You only make it more attractive by making it harder to get. The hope is that by making "clean herb" easily available, the black market will shrink - that which delivers a potentially dangerous product . The author is concerned with the safety of kids. The way to achieve that is to get rid of the tainted product.
Bill Alstrom