Council President Leo Robinson has some serious concerns if the Question 3 Medical Marijuana bill passes in the Nov. 6th election, and those concerns revolve around the possibility of having numerous marijuana dispensary stores pop up throughout the City’s business districts.
At Monday’s Council Meeting, Robinson called for a meeting with the Council’s Rules and Ordinance Committee to discuss what might happen on Broadway and other areas if Question 3 passes next week.
“I did ask for a meeting so we can explore what possibilities we would have in regulating any stores popping up here after the law goes into effect, or even any growers that would get the right to grow it here,” he said. “I’m just trying to get out in front of this and have real conversations and discussions about it before anything starts happening.”
Robinson’s proposal to the Committee looks at banning or regulating the locations where a so-called marijuana dispensary could locate. The last thing, he said, anyone wants is a store selling marijuana right in the middle of the traditional business district where families and children come and go all the time.
Such concerns have been validated in California, where the medical marijuana law has led to the huge propagation of storefronts selling marijuana to those with a prescription, and many times those storefronts in California have come to be disproportionately located in low-income communities similar to Chelsea.
Critics of the law in California have contended that medical marijuana has been overprescribed and that has led to more demand for the dispensary stores and for more state-certified growers.
The same has been the case in Colorado.
The Question 3 bill in Massachusetts would allow medical marijuana prescriptions for conditions as serious as cancer, and as common as glaucoma.
Robinson said if there were a lot of people with prescriptions in the area, that might lead to a need for numerous stores – which could really change the character of the business district.
“The Department of Public Health has not set up any regulations or guidelines to address this,” he said. “It would take them a year or two to put those kinds of things in place if this passes. Even without anything in place, if this passes, then we could have a lot of people showing up with medical marijuana in our City…You don’t want to suddenly end up with everyone selling it and with people carrying cards to have it. That would only create another problem for our police department to have to deal with.”