Does Boston need a pot zone?

City Councilor Rob Consalvo (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) says he sympathizes with people with the sort of debilitating illnesses who would require medical marijuana, but he doesn't want the dispensaries approved by voters to be allowed to set up shop just anywhere.

Consalvo on Wednesday asks the City Council to approve a hearing to start figuring out how to limit where dispensaries can open.

The City Council sympathizes with those individuals suffering from debilitating medical conditions; however, the City of Boston has the responsibility to ensure that the Zoning Code be updated to ensure that dispensaries be zoned and located in the most appropriate way in our neighborhoods.

Consalvo's proposed hearing would seek input from, among others, the BRA, Boston Police, and state and city public-health departments on siting marijuana sales outlets.



Free tagging: 


How far from schools?

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If they make it 1000 ft, like a lot of laws that involve drugs, then Boston Latin's presence kills a large portion of that entire area. You are correct in that it seems like a pretty good place, but silly restrictions may not allow it.


They carry oxy contin, and oxycontin is one of the biggest drug challenges for school administrators nowadays.

Should we ban those from school areas? Put special restrictive zoning on any facility dispensing the vastly more dangerous (to people and society) narcotic drugs and make people travel to get them?

After all, a medical marijuana dispensary is just a specialized pharmacy.


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And, for those worried about dispensaries, what about just having pharmacies dispense it?

(Disclaimer: Utterly in favor of full legalization. In the meantime, let's seek the simplest solutions.)


Pharmacies should be the only

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Pharmacies should be the only dispensaries of medial pot. Get a prescription from your doctor and pick it up at CVS. The whole notion of any Tom, Dick or Harry growing pot with no medical training, under no medical supervision, and selling it to people with serious health conditions is medically irresponsible and unethical. If people are serious about using pot as a medical drug then it should be regulated and treated as such along with all of the other prescribed meds. End of story.

Legalizing pot as a recreational drug is a dangerous message to send to kids. I know, I know, people hate kids on this site. 'Think of the children...' wah wah. However, sadly probably most of us know kids in their early teens who are already smoking regularly. Growing boys and girls inhaling burning weed into their lungs? Stupid. Anyone who says this is a good thing is a jackass.


I know, I know, people hate kids on this site.

I LOVE kids...when they're properly cooked!

And NOW you tell me I could have gone to medial school to learn how to grow medial pot! All those years I wasted at Wharton and the Sorbonne...

Next you'll have figured out the yin and the yang of me being stoned and playing the new Call Of Duty. AT THE SAME TIME! Now there's a dangerous message.

Bad message for kids?

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Here, I'll lecture you on the EVILEESSS of WEEED while I drink this beer.

Hypocrisy and misinformation gain you no ground with children, are dangerous for society and are the real immoralities to protect children from - and here you are spreading them on behalf of children, your fears, and your ignorance.


Obvious, but not best

Ron, in my opinion, the dispensaries actually should be in residential areas - actually, the most-dense areas. Pain knows no boundaries; the dispensaries should be strategically located in such a way that almost everyone can travel the same distances to get their prescriptions filled.

My map with suggestions will appear in this week's South End News, if all goes according to plan.

Here we go again

How many times do elected officials need to waste the public's money and lose in court on these things?

And, they will lose - check out what happened when MA local politicians tried to "special zone" tattoo artists.

You cannot create special zones for specific businesses - and, to act as if pot is super dangerous and worthy of ninnyfits and twistednickertantrums while liquor stores are widely dispersed is a superlative act of pandering to ignorance.

Of course, the municipal lawyers who advise these communities have every reason to lead lawmakers to think they can game the situtation because they will benefit from the communities being sued and losing.


I'm sure this pathetic hack has no problem with a packie on every other corner in his district though.

Also, I'm sure if this ward heeler took a walk into some of the bodegas in his district he'd find every one of them selling 30 different kinds of flavored Philles and blunt wraps and have been for years. What does he think goes into those blunt wraps?

Surely our crusading Consalvo can't possibly think 70 year old men like to sit outside at the track smoking blueberry Phillie Blunts,could he?


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I've been watching Rob Consalvo for quite few years now and I think he does a good job. He's got his heart in the right place. The only other proposed legislation of his that I had an issue with was when he tried to deputize valets as key masters of potential drunk drivers. Oh, and I don't really like this proposed legislation either; I'm more of a libertarian and think fewer zoning limitations are the way to go. He was a champion of the ShotSpotter, an excellent product, which I've seen work first hand.

Supporters of dispensaries

So those of you who criticize the Counselor, you'll both be calling your city councilor offering up your block as a location for a medical marijuana dispensary?

Provide us with your real names so we can confirm you're both not just full of hot air.

Zoning - what a concept!

They should be able to locate anywhere that a liquor store or pharmacy can locate ... you know, retail locations?

Don't be ridiculous.

One can criticize local officials for grandstanding for "causes" that recent legal cases guarentee that they WILL lose, and for wasting public money even trying, without all these nonsense strawmen.

I live in Belmont, so I don't have any geographical skin

in this one. However, I didn't realize my opinion came with residence restrictions.

I'm sure one will be opening in Cambridge, so I imagine my needs will be met there. I would love to see one in Belmont. I'd approve one across the street from me anywhere I chose to live.

No need to travel ...

You're in luck. Each of Massachusetts' 14 counties can have as many as five dispensaries, so not only can Cambridge have one, but so can Belmont.

Sixty-five percent of Belmont voters approved the referendum; I assume all sixty-five percent are as open-minded as you are and are eager for the shops to open within walking distance, unlike municipalities such as Quincy and Wakefield that have already banned the locating of dispensaries there even though voters approved them by more than 50%.

Middlesex County

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Five for all of Cambridge to Lowell. Sounds like some travelling around to me.

Geography - it isn't just for people who dare to leave their neighborhoods anymore!

let's not forget out to

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let's not forget out to Natick, Framingham and Hopkinton, and also northwest all the way to Ashby.

not even close

I would much rather live near a medical pot store than either a package store or a bar.

They can build one near me

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Sir reporting for duty sir!

I'm in JP, on the sketchy side of town. They're welcome to build in my neighborhood! Off the top of my head, I would gladly accept the dispensary taking over the space of:

  1. The package store with the neon sign advertising Hennesy that attracts a handful of guys every Friday night
  2. The abandoned (but soon to be renovated and repopulated) halfway house for chronically homeless folks
  3. Any of the 19 barber shops within 3 blocks of my house
  4. The abandoned 3-family house that routinely gets broken into by high schoolers looking for someplace to drink

A dispensary, as was previously noted, is nothing but a specialized pharmacy. They'll have the same security measures as any place that distributes Schedule II substances (oxycontin, Adderall, etc.) No one seems nervous about the Walgreens over on Columbus Ave; why should we freak out about this?

i have a perfect property right next door.

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they can come to my block and set up shop next door to my house if they want. i'm all for it. i live in stow, near a main road. in fact, we are full of farms, so they are welcome to grow it here, too.

see, all of this would just make it more convenient to buy for my mom for her next round of chemo for her stage 4 lung cancer. so when she's really sick, it can help ease her pain and keep some weight on her.

and even if i didn't have a mother with cancer, i would still welcome it next door. weed isn't my enemy, and it shouldn't be anybody elses. if we rewrote the rules, and changed the way we conceptualized our relationship with it, people might stop freaking out.

i support full legalization. but the state went for medical use, which is better than none, and i'll support it with the gamble to my property values. go ahead. move in next door.

No hospital would willingly

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No hospital would willingly want a "medical" marijuana facility near it. For the simple reason that it would degrade the reputation of the hospital.... there is no medical benefit to pot. No medical society has ever supported a medical pot iniative. Join the fact based world where words mean something.That is, don't believe twinkies (not to be around for much longer, I'm afraid) would have medical value because someone called them medical twinkies.
If Mississippi, were to pass a law legislating creationism it would be rightly criticized as biology not based on science; same thing with medical pot... it isn't a fact based belief. (Interestingly enough medical pot is a "medicine" with no contraindications... but I'm getting offtrack)
And courts in states with medical pot laws have upheld zoning restrictions and even town prohibitions in some states.

This from the LA Metropolitan Enterprise 10/12/12...

"The Fourth District Court of Appeal yesterday upheld Temecula’s ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries from operating within the city.

The panel ruled, 2-1, that the city may use its zoning powers to absolutely ban the dispensing of the drug, and that such regulation is not preempted by Proposition 215, the statewide initiative permitting the use of marijuana upon a doctor’s recommendation, or the Medical Marijuana Program Act that regulates the distribution of the drug for medical purposes.

But the posters are correct... that Mass cities/towns will, once the first 37 pot facilities, are setup have to spend alot of money defending zoning restrictions. And the medical pot industry has really deep pockets.

there is no medical benefit

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No benefit for diseases in your limited citation set

I noticed that my blood pressure medication doesn't help my asthma, either.

What weed appears to be best for is nausea control in people who need to be able to eat and maintain their weight in order to cope with all the other lovely side effects of their diseases or the treatments for their diseases.

I don't see any palliative studies in your group there.

is there such a thing as an unlimited citation set?

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is disproving a claim that marijuana has zero "medical benefit" limited only to disease prevention? Help me here, I'm not in the medical field, so I have to take words at their face value when I read these studies. At that, I had to look up what "palliative" means but it seems that statements like

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that marijuana may be modestly effective for pain relief (particularly nerve pain)


The study, published Monday, found that for 30 MS patients with muscle "spasticity," a few days of marijuana smoking brought some relief.

fall under the "palliative" umbrella.

I voted 'yes' for the medicinal marijuana issue, and I'm not too blind to see that every study up there cites a caveat that the upside is held at arm's length and in view of a downside (which curiously alternates semantics between "side effects" and unmentionable "risks"). Like I said I'm no doctor, but I don't think I need to be to call bullshit on the anon who claims generally and dismissively that marijuana has no medical benefit, and stands on a soapbox of "facts" that he/she can't be bothered to produce. It took me all of 45 seconds to find half a dozen studies that show "medical benefit" in a general sense, even if those benefits come with side effects.

The real issue

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Pot should be legal, period.

Medical is a foot in the door. It does help some people, so, why not? All the same, it should be legal, taxed, and controlled.

All the grandstanding on pot is silly when my local liquor store would be happy to dispense it alongside the much more dangerous substances they currently vend (tobacco and alcohol).

All Apologies

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That was aimed that the person you responded to, not you. Sorry.

It is true that weed is less about curative medicine and more about palliative medicine all the same.

Well, then....

I can't wait to read your well researched dissertation on the medical benefits of alcohol.

Also, as soon as big pharma gets into the game, you'll see more and more medical "societies" start to soften their stand on medical pot.

I say that because I've seen the millions that big pharma spends each year on junkets for medical professionals every time they drop a new drug.

I can almost see the banner....

"Welcome to the Ocean's Edge Resort in lovely Cape Cod for a weekend of golf and tennis brought to you by Novartis and it's new line of flavored Kush!"

you said junket... hehe

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If Big pharma hosted a big junket for medical professional to promote medical marijuana, they'd be much better off with a cruise with an unlimited buffet.....


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I love how I can get sympathy for wanting weed only if I have a debilitating illness while drugs like flowmax can help my mild pee problems whenever and wherever without the need for a committee concerned about pee soaked streets.

It's a christian thing

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Totally agree with you. Why only available if you have debilitating disease? Same argument for abortion - only if you are raped or going to die.
It's I believe a christian thing where you must be suffer and be punished before you can be healed.

Sorry, time for my pill and coffee.

Offense Taken (Even If Not Specifically Intended)

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I'm a Christian. I'm also in favor of full legalization of pot. Can't say I've ever found anything in The Bible that says, "Thou shalt not smoke weed."

To answer another question up above, I'd gladly have a dispensary on my street in Watertown (and my full real name is James Shawn Sullivan, as though that matters.) Hell, show me where to sign the papers and I'll run one from my house.


No, John, I Don't Need His Number

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And I don't really appreciate the tone of the offer. If I'm misreading you as more snide than you intended, my apologies.

I've been upfront with my support of legalization for some 40 years now. I've gathered sigs for petitions. I've been a member of organizations pushing for legalization and decrim. I've worked on it via what political means I've had available, as a candidate for office and as a state chair of a minor political party. I've supported candidates who were in favor of legalization, both via monetary contributions and sweat. I've given speeches at the annual hempfest. I've gathered voter registrations and worked tables with literature and every other damn thing possible at that venue and similar. I've already written a boatload of officeholders and they have my letters on record someplace (Just to show you how far back, I can probably dig up responses from the likes of Ted Kennedy, Mike Dukakis, and Jimmy Carter, if you'd like to see them someday - all of them said they were at least in favor of decrim, by the way, but nothing ever got accomplished, which is part of the reason I disdain major party politics.) I've done my bit legally to get to this point.

I also used to sell drugs illegally, pot being the major one. I would take a bet that I have more real world experience with illegal drug usage than most on these boards, and thus more real world experience with the characters who might show at dispensaries outside of those with severe medical need (since the folks without severe medical need seem to be the problem are probably looking to avoid.) I have no problem dealing with such people or with telling them to get lost, whichever is needed at any moment. Also, I can grade marijuana quite well, and I'm used to divvying it up by the gram, joint, bowlful, ounce, or whatever way is needed. I might still have my own scale someplace. So, no, no problem at all.

If you want to give him MY number, feel free. It's in the book.


No snideness intended ...

Apologies, no snideness intended, at least not at you. More that I feel as though we're about to see a dramatic shift in people's opinions on this when we get around to actually implementing it.

While you and I and other commenters have no qualms about having dispensaries in our neighborhood, others are already taking steps to get a waiver.

And I just don't think that's fair.


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Mr. Consalvo must be pretty dense. His district is already full dispensaries. Just not ones approved by the state. But this is hardly surprising. This is the type of thing that clowns like this live for. MUST MAKE MORE RULES TO INCREASE MY AUTHORITAH!

For serious

Do people not realize how much marijuana is already being sold in their neighborhoods and close to (and in) schools?

Compounding Pharmacies?

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The one in hot water for manufacturing tainted steroid shots is an anomaly. Most are small independent dispensaries in retail locations in or near residental areas, and likely cater to some of the same customers as those who will seek medical use prescriptions. Many compounding pharmacies already have a sideline in formulating herbal and traditional treatments.

This would make perfect sense, IMHO.


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A "distro" in your neighborhood should welcome as it probably would increase the ever so sought after foot traffic that these main streets so frequently talk about. But I guess status quo is cool, right Robbie?