Concerns Regarding the Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Revere
An article in the Revere Journal from November 5, 2015 states that “The Wellness Connection of Massachusetts, Inc. is seeking a special permit to open a medical marijuana treatment center at 44 Railroad St. and will appear before the Revere City Council on Nov. 30.” The company officers that are seeking the permit are from Plymouth, Middleton, and Arlington.
Medical marijuana was approved by voters in 2013. The Department of Public Health has wrestled with how to regulate the dispensaries, and cities and towns are tasked with the responsibility of reviewing applications for medical marijuana dispensaries in their communities.
It is important that the city council hear from residents. We invite community members to join us on November 30 at 6pm in City Council Chambers to share any concerns they may have about the opening of the dispensary, and sign our petition here.
Are you “neutral”?
- A Registered Marijuana Dispensary is required to obtain a letter of support from its host community before it will be permitted to proceed to the inspection phase. A letter of support demonstrates that the city/town is neutral on the topic. Source: Executive Office of Health and Human Services http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/medical-marijuana/municipal-guidance.pdf
- However, if you as a resident do not wish to have a marijuana dispensary in Revere you should share your concerns with your city council members and let them know you are not neutral on this topic.
As a healthy communities coalition it is important to share information with residents on issues that may impact their health and quality of life. Here is information about what to consider before approving a medical marijuana dispensary in Revere.
Impact on Youth
- According to the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 25% of our high school students have reported using marijuana in the past 30 days.
- Prevention science teaches that youth are more likely to use a substance if they don’t perceive it as being harmful. We know from focus groups and surveying students that young people in Revere don’t believe marijuana is harmful. Students are reporting self-medicating with marijuana to treat their depression. The truth is that weekly or more frequent use of marijuana doubles a teen’s risk of depression and anxiety. Source: http://www.theantidrug.com/pdfs/teen-marijuana-depression-report.pdf
- By opening a medical marijuana dispensary in our community we are sending another message to our youth that marijuana use is okay. Currently our community is facing an opioid crisis and early studies are now suggesting that use of marijuana can actually increase the risk of opiate use by future generations. This is a dangerous message to send to our youth. Source: http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2015/02/animal-study-suggests-marijuana-may-affect-future-offsprings-susceptibility-to-heroin
- If the council allows this dispensary to open, we recommend that part of the profits be used to fund an educational campaign in Revere targeting youth on the impact of marijuana use on the developing brain.
Here are some additional concerns to consider based on feedback from the community and law enforcement:
Impact on Community
- During the 2015 Community Health Assessment, over 700 residents and people who work in Revere were asked what they thought were the most pressing health concerns in our community. Over 84% of the respondents said that substance abuse is the most pressing concern in Revere.
- A dispensary increases the availability of yet another addictive substance in a community that is already struggling with substance use disorders. They may look like separate issues, but evidence suggests that use of substances are often linked together.
- The only other medical marijuana dispensary to open in the state is in Salem. No marijuana is grown at the Salem site. The Revere facility is proposing a 39,200 sq. ft. growing area, which would increase access to marijuana. Source: http://www.wcvb.com/news/1st-medical-marijuana-dispensary-in-massachusetts-opening/33745928
Comments on public safety from law enforcement around the country:
- Since Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMD) are “cash and carry” businesses involving two lucrative commodities—cash and marijuana product—they become a potential target of crimes and ancillary problems. Source: Chief John F. Carmichael, Walpole Police Department memo
- Melinda Haag, U.S. Attorney for California’s Northern District, and her colleagues in California recently made major changes to the way medical marijuana has been dispensed since 1997 due to data and public concerns about safety: “The other concern that people have expressed to me is safety. There is a belief, backed by facts, that marijuana operations are often times the victims of criminal activity. Armed robberies at dispensaries, armed robberies at grow operations, and people who are nearby are at risk as a result of that.” Source: NPR Interview March 2012 http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2012/03/15/interview-w-us-attorney-haag-on-pot-operations-if-its-close-to-children-thats-a-line-were-going-to-draw
Do you have an opinion?
If so, please join us at the City Council Meeting on November 30th at 6pm and/or sign our petition here.