Original Request for Feedback, December 13, 2018
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.