Adult-Use Marijuana Facility Proposed in Brighton

Original Request for Feedback, December 13, 2018

Natural Selections is seeking to site an adult-use cannabis retail shop at 345 Washington Street in Brighton Center. To view the company’s PowerPoint proposal, click here

Senator Brownsberger is eager to receive feedback from Brighton residents, including questions and concerns. Please comment below to share your thoughts. 

Statement from Will, January 3, 2019

Thanks to all who have weighed in. Most people responded in the week after I posted the question. I took the holidays before posting a response.

I have carefully read all of the comments that were posted here and all of the email conversations that my post generated. I am grateful for the very diverse perspectives that I received.

I voted for and actively supported legalization for the following basic reasons:

  • I want to end the illicit market in marijuana which tempts young men into crime by offering the prospect of quick money.
  • I want to reduce the high incarceration of young men in communities of poverty.
  • I want to reduce the harms associated with the dangerous synthetic opioids and other chemicals that are being added into marijuana, cocaine and heroin. To that end, I want people who use marijuana to have access to a regulated, clean, accurately labelled product.

I respect that some believe that these hoped-for benefits of legalization are outweighed by risks that people will use marijuana more, harm themselves and more frequently drive intoxicated.

While choosing to legalize marijuana, we have put in place a strong state-level regulatory framework that is designed to minimize the risks associated with legalization. For example, state law allows the state to deny licenses within 500 feet of a school.

The goals of legalization will not be achieved if we do not open marijuana outlets widely in Massachusetts — we need to make it easier to get legal marijuana than it already is to get illegal marijuana.

Because I strongly support the goals of legalization and because I believe that the state regulatory framework strongly protects the public, I will always support the opening of any marijuana retail facility in any location that complies with with state laws and regulations and is permittable under local zoning regulations.

I am respectful of the concerns that some have raised about this particular location. The most commonly expressed concerns were about traffic and parking. It is indeed fair to say that Brighton Center is highly congested.

I strongly urge the City, in negotiating a host agreement with this facility, to give very careful attention to the issue of parking and more broadly to the issue of street traffic. Although the facility may be more than 500 feet from any school, there are many schools nearby and students should not have to push through lines of people waiting outside the facility. The City should should insist that sales be by appointment and that volume be carefully controlled. This is especially important during our current transition period where demand greatly exceeds legal supply. I believe that once we get through the transition and there is an adequate network of facilities across the state, the need for these controls will diminish.

Thanks again to all who have provided me input to help me shape my thoughts about this facility.

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38 Comments

  1. While I understand the arguments for legalization, I worry about how the presence of such shops will alter how the other businesses nearby may be affected. I have loved to go to Hallowell ME when on vacation. The presence of a marijuana shop seems to be contributing to a shift on the Main Street. A craft shop has been replaced by a head shop. A favorite book store is gone. There is a gun store that has also moved into the street. Brighton Main Streets should weigh in about how this may affect current tenants. We have seen a transformation over the past few years clearly focused on the millenials. So it is important to ask what the impact of such a shop will be.

  2. Thanks Will for soliciting feedback. I too support the new recreational marijuana law and would want to see a stir in Brighton. But the location seems too dense and lacks the parking area that would be needed to support it. That area of Washington Street has many businesses, bars and restaurants with no parking already. Keep it in Brighton but in an more quasi- industrial area off the Main Street.

  3. Although I supported this as a parent at the Winship school which is very near to the proposed located I do not feel comfortable with this proposal. I also agree it is a very congested area with very little parking and there are many children and parents commuting and parking regularly in this area. I think it would be safer in a location with more adults and vigilance such as near a university like BC or the Harvard business school, perhaps Western Ave. Another option might be in an area where there is more public transportation like near Commonwealth Ave. and Harvard street.

  4. Marijuana dispensaries ought to be treated like any other legal retail establishment. Wine stores might be a good analogy.

  5. As a Brighton resident and parent of young children who frequents this area I have no concerns about this location. I am always grateful for better utilization of space in our neighborhood and I appreciate that this proposal looks to use an unused basement space of the existing building. I feel that the security and safety concerns about Adult use Cannabis are not reflective of the reality of with the use of the substance or the extensive regulations that are demanded by the CCC.

    They are listed here going to the details with regard to transportation, physical security and advertising: https://www.mpp.org/states/massachusetts/massachusetts-adult-use-marijuana-regulation-law/

    While traffic congestion and parking in Brighton Center is always a concern, this location will have both its own parking lot and a city lot adjacent to that as well as being at the intersection of two cross cutting bus routes. Further long term the utilization of this business will not lead to the issues currently seen the newly opened Adult User businesses because currently the existing facilities are serving extreme pent up demand for the whole state. Once the market is allowed to grow with demand the the congestion issues will be no more problematic than they are for the similar existing businesses such as the two Liqueur Stores in the same block.

    I have some mixed feelings with regard to the the ownership group of this particular facility. I know that there is a limitation on number of businesses that can be opened in a particular area, and it would be preferable that the ownership group represent and reflect the local area. This group is from out of state. However, this group does have experience running this type of business in other states which could speak to there ability operate the facility at its best capacity.

    I am aware of two other proposals for the Brighton area, One for the current MaryAne’s space in Cleveland Circle and the former Papa Gino’s space on North Beacon. I support new businesses opening in our neighborhood, especially in currently vacant or unused locations. My understanding of the laws is that not all of these would be able to open, so there is a level of discussion of which of these locations are best, but I support this location as well as the other two.

  6. As a local resident, and parent of a BPS 6th grader, I support this proposal. This is a prime location for retail.

    1. How does being a parent of a BPS 6th grader factor into this? Does the kid watch his mother smoke weed, and is exposed to second-hand smoke?

  7. Strongly opposed to this business opening in the most congested area of my very small lifelong hometown of Brighton, after seeing the awful traffic and crowds at the most recent dispensaries that opened I think this is just a terrible idea for this small very busy community. Furthermore with the heavy foot traffic in the afternoon/evening with public transportation commuters, restaurant patrons and local kids that frequent the area I think it’s just not a good fit. As someone that strongly believes the benefits that the cannabis plant can offer I think that there are much better locations that could house a store that sold recreational use of the plant.

  8. Hello, I live in Brighton Center, across from Jims Deli, so just across the intersection from where this development is proposed. I must advocate for this facility to be located elsewhere. Brighton Center is already clogged with traffic, it often takes multiple light cycles to get through the intersection. Parking is less than abundant, and I am hard pressed to believe the rear parking currently available at 345 will be sufficient. I realize these are similar comments to the many others you will probably receive, but I truly do believe it. I use marijuana, and would love a convenient location to legally obtain it, and so having it across the street seems delightful. Unfortunately, I realize I will be far from the only one patronizing the store, and so when I think of all the crowding currently occuring, to add in a dispensary, right in the center of Brighton Center, I do feel that is misguided. I commute to work daily on the 57 and 86 buses, which are both incredibly crowded and slow. Bus bunching abounds, and will only get worse with this development. Simply, I would love a dispensary in Brighton, but removed from the hub of Brighton I think would be best for all.

  9. Very much in favor of this proposal. It will obviously be a very successful business due to high demand. I would be one of the first patrons. It is worth noting that lines and wait times will diminish the longer the store is open and the more stores that are open in the area. Opponents of the stores are using traffic as an excuse because they are afraid of “those people” coming into their neighborhood. They fail to acknowledge that we live in a major city and this location is 5 miles away from downtown. This isn’t some quiet backstreet in Iowa.

    Security will of course be very tight and the store has everything to lose by allowing people to smoke in public near their store or to somehow smuggle cannabis to minors. Anyone who says otherwise is fearmongering and in denial about the fact that cannabis is already widely available in Brighton through illegal means. We already have two liquor stores in the immediate vicinity of this location and they are not ruining kids’ lives or the “family environment.” This store would be no different.

  10. Senator,
    Please do not vote in favor of this facility. It is very close to a heavy concentration of families in Brighton who do not want their children exposed to marijuana. I am sure there are many fine places to open this facility that doesn’t strongly impose on an established local community of families.
    With thanks,
    Ben

    1. My house is less than a quarter mile from the proposed location and I have three kids still living at home, and I do not object to this proposal.

      I don’t believe in NIMBY.

      If your kids are using pot, then the pot store isn’t the problem.

  11. I support this proposal. Marijuana dispensaries ought to be treated like any other legal retail establishment.

  12. I am in full support of this business opening in the area. As a resident of several years in Brighton, I am excited that will of the people and the free market are bringing recreational cannabis closer to where I can easily purchase it like I can tobacco, beer, wine and liquor.

  13. This group appeared before the BAIA and was opposed. There were several concerns about the location. The basement would not be easily accessible to people who are handicapped and the parking and traffic conditions would not easily ac.comodate this business.. An alternative location should be sought

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