Photo: Sample jars at an existing retail operation.
To the editor:
The debate surrounding retail marijuana arises fears of the “undesirable people” that would be brought into town, fear of kids having access to marijuana, and scares about kids seeing marijuana in the window of a store (despite the fact that retailers are not allowed to display any product in the window, or have any signage that indicates that marijuana is sold there). Parents understandably do not want their kids to smoke pot. Thankfully, marijuana will not be any more present in your life, or any kids’ life if you vote ‘no’ to the Special Election Question on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
Marijuana already exists in Belmont. The contents of the marijuana that kids currently have access to are not regulated whatsoever. Furthermore, the existence of retail marijuana has the chance to dry up the black market for a substance that is generally easier for American children to get than alcohol, which is regularly exposed to children in restaurants, stores, and advertising.
Much of the conversation regarding this bylaw focuses on the number of retail establishments that would be allowed. I definitely don’t think that there is a market for more than two retail stores in Belmont at the moment. There should be as many establishments as the market demands, and therefore no premature limitation on what is allowed. If a no vote passes, it is highly unlikely that there will be more than two establishments in the foreseeable future.
My primary concern is that there is no logical reason to block cultivators, product manufacturers, or testing facilities. These facilities create jobs, many of which require advanced education and training and pay well. We should allow a burgeoning industry that will create quality employment opportunities in town.
Good policymaking is evidence based. We should reject regulation that stifles economic development and doesn’t have any foreseeable social or environmental externalities. I would challenge that there is no benefit to voting for these regulations other than to appease personal biases, unfounded fears, and blatant misunderstandings of the implications of this policy. Voting no will allow for increased tax revenue in town, more quality employment opportunities for residents, potentially reduce the market for marijuana on the street, and allow adults to consume marijuana in the safest possible way if they choose to do so.