Boston begins figuring out how to allow marijuana dispensaries; South Boston councilor draws line in sand

City councilors this morning began a formal discussion on how to allow the medical-marijuana dispensaries approved by voters last month while letting neighborhoods have a say on specific locations.

The law approved by voters would allow up to five dispensaries in a county.

City Councilor Bill Linehan, who represents South Boston and the South End, said he understands the need for medical marijuana and that he understands medical-marijuana use doesn't lead to substance abuse, but said his district already suffers crime and other problems from methadone clinics - and already has more than its fair share of other medical facilities:

"This is not the only place they should be located in the city of Boston," he said at the hearing, called by City Councilor Rob Consalvo (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan), who did not express an opinion about dispensaries in his district.

Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said no dispensary can open in the state until the state Department of Public Health issues its own regulations, possibly by next April or May. She said she understands Linehan's concern about having dispensaries packed in one area.

However, she said that effective Jan. 1, any patient who gets a prescription from a doctor can begin growing marijuana for personal use - and that eventually people who care for sick people who need marijuana will be able to

The Boston Zoning Commission holds a hearing Jan. 16 to being considering specific zoning definitions and restrictions for dispensaries.

Boston Police commanders at the hearing said they have begun to prepare for an increase in property and even violent crime that evidence from other states suggest accompanies dispensaries and individuals using marijuana.

Jonathan Napoli, who owns a hydroponics supply shop in Dudley Square, says he wants to open a dispensary there. Besides serving people who could benefit from marijuana, the store would provide a much needed economic boost to Dudley Square. He estimates that a dispensary could mean 20 new jobs.

However, one Dudley Square resident said the area is similar to South Boston - it already has more than enough methadone clinics and crime.

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    Comments

    Dudley square

    Look at the bright side a stoner shop in the middle of Dudley square would make the neighborhood more diverse with all the suburban stoners shopping there.

    No sale

    Boston Police commanders at the hearing said they have begun to prepare for an increase in property and even violent crime that evidence from other states suggest accompanies dispensaries and individuals using marijuana.

    I'm going to need some solid citations of these bloodthirsty stoners on violent rampages to get their fatties.

    Our "marijuana is not a big deal" march

    I hope that this is very tightly regulated. While I don't necessarily object to people using pot for pain relief (again, in a tightly regulated manner), I think the "pot isn't a big deal" march that we're on is becoming a problem in at least one respect.

    I have noticed a conspicuous uptick in people smoking marijuana in public since decriminalization. This concerns me in at least one respect - I'm seeing (and smelling) a lot more usage by people driving automobiles. We talk a lot about the dangers of drinking and driving, but we almost never hear about smoking pot and driving. I would argue that smoking pot while driving is significantly more dangerous (reaction time, anyone?) than drinking low alcohol content beer, for example. I know that it is unlawful as a kind of impaired driving (query, do police carry something akin to a breathalyzer that could provide evidence in a prosecution of someone high on pot while driving?) but the people doing it, many of whom would never really think of taking shots while driving, don't seem to give a crap. I give as an example the carload of college-aged kids last month who were conspicuously passing around a fatty while doing 45 in the right lane on I-95 in Waltham whilst the rest of the traffic is moving at near 70. Maybe everyone else shouldn't be doing 70, but someone moving at 45, particularly without their hazards on, is a hazard to everyone else on the road. I refuse to believe it was because they were just being cautious or that the (almost brand new) car was having mechanical problems.

    I also think that there is fair bit of credibility to the "gateway drug" notion, certainly for some people, but that ship has already sailed.

    Bullshit

    Just pure bullshit. Gateway drug? Oh please.

    There is no such fucking thing. Totally discredited.

    Please present facts - not yesterday's "heresay". Links to "Reefer Madness" do not represent evidence, either.

    Check the public health journals for more information and stick all that DARE indoctrination where it won't cause you to have any unpermitted joy.

    I disagree with Isaacg

    I think people who smoke behind the wheel are exactly the same people who would take a "road soda." Drinking behind the wheel is very easy to disguise, throw that beer or mixed drink into a travel mug and no one is the wiser.

    I think the only current way to determine if someone is impaired by marajuana is a blood test and that is a problem, but I'm sure our prison industrial complex is working on that technology as we speak. The more people they can lock up, the more money private prisons make - if we are safer, it's merely a side effect.

    Driving, Alcohol vs. Cannabis

    Alcohol loosens inhibitions and tends to make people ignore consequences. Cannabis users may lean toward paranoia. As a result, drivers on alcohol tend to speed up, while drivers on cannabis tend to slow down. So, in a word, yes, the driver passing the fatty was probably being cautious (although maybe not consciously so) in a way that most alcohol-impaired drivers would not be.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18460360

    Suldog
    http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

    Despensaries and methadone clinics in Newton

    Brookline [the nice parts], Wellesley, Weston, how about it? Shuttle buses if necessary could be provided. Put a methadone clinic and dispensary right by Harvard Yard...better yet, IN Harvard Yard! I say these places and others like them could use more section 8 housing and public housing projects,too.

    I think those nice suburban schools and the foo foo private ones like Buckingham,Brown & Nichols, The Cambridge School, etc., are just too vanilla, too Asian. They need more diversity. I think this needs to be brought to the attention of the courts, maybe remedied by court action.

    You know, Vermont is just not diverse enough. It needs a court ordered quota set to increase it's minority population by 2000%. And it could use a lot more methadone clinics, preferably in the touristy ski resort towns and the nice historic areas. And this is Christmas so it's really only the right thing to do, considering we're honoring you know who.

    *sarcasm off*

    its called cannabis

    We can start by calling it cannabis, marijuana is slang, creating legislation and speaking with officials on the use of 'marijuana' and the implementation of dispensaries is equivalent to referring to liquor as hooch.

    cannabis is safer than alcohol
    cannabis has medicinal value, this is not a question.
    not allowing dispensaries in your town will only extend the black market, and prevent tax from being paid, as well as safe access being created.
    if you think an official system will lead to more crime than the current black market, you are simply wrong.

    i hope these dispensaries have the sense to operate under the state parameters and that safe access to a QUALITY medicine will be the focus of SOMEONE.

    if you think current laws, or any laws are preventing children, adults, anybody from using cannabis you are wrong.

    currently easy access to low quality potentialy unsafe cannabis is EVERYWHERE

    the people voted in medicinal access, all you dinosaurs who think this can be stopped you are WRONG.

    With decriminilzation in effect, the least these towns can do is cooperate with the Medicinal practices trying to abide by the laws and provide patients with access to their medicine.

    Cannabis is widely used recreationally and will continue to be used recreationally until LEGALIZATION goes into effect federally.

    Opinions Below

    Questionable statement:

    "cannabis is safer than alcohol".

    Amother questionable statement:

    "cannabis has medicinal value, this is not a question."

    Says who? You?

    It's really a damn shame

    It's really a damn shame people can't get their medicine because idiot Bostonians are complainers. How is opening a marijuana shop going to raise crime? As many bank robberies and murders that have happened in the past week, NONE were marijuana related.

    You do realize so many

    You do realize so many Amsterdamers [?] have complained over the years about their weed laws and coffee house that there's been a big crackdown?

    I'm all for legalizing cannabis. I think our so-called war on drugs is a joke and many ways tragic. And I also share frustrations with MYMBYism attitudes [by no means unique to Boston; ALL 'upper class' towns [for example] practice it FAR WORSE than Boston. I think you must realize many urban dwellers get tired of having all the 'cool' social engineering stuff stuck in their neighborhoods, their schools, etc., As for South Boston and the South End, they indeed do have drug rehab facilities,including methadone clinics,and homeless shelters to a degree that other neighborhoods don't have to deal with, and many 'upper class' and 'nice' neighborhoods and towns would fight tooth and nail. I think they think it's only fair these things be spread around, not stuck in the usual places, which causes ghettoization.

    Flawed logic

    Oxycontin is a far more serious problem in our schools and communities than marijuana. However, we don't require people to purchase their oxycontin prescriptions at a hospital.

    We also have a very big problem in our society with people getting too many of their otherwise routine medical needs at hospitals.

    Not to mention that the number of hospitals has been dropping by the year due to mergers and economies of scale, and those reductions are not evenly geographically or socioeconomically distributed.

    I could go on ... but, the fact is, we don't require people to purchase alcoholic beverages at a hospital, either. We buy those at neighborhood dispensaries - and those beverages are societally and physiologically far more dangerous than marijuana. Ditto for cigarettes.

    This law is ridiculous

    I'm pretty strongly in favor of legalizing marijuana, but this is just a stupid way to go about it. The vocabulary of "dispensary" and "medicine" is just ridiculous. Let's just drop the charade and focus on passing a law for buying weed without having to pretend like this is a medical issue.