To weed or not to weed, that is the question.
Actually, that’s not the question and I will explain why in a minute.
In the coming months, the City Council will debate their hottest topic yet. Marijuana.
Not only will this have long-lasting effects on our new city, but the rest of the country may very well be looking to us as an example.
In November of 2016, the residents of Framingham voted in favor of legalizing marijuana. In EVERY precinct, in EVERY district, more than 50% of those who voted, voted to make this substance legal to buy, legal to possess, and legal to ingest.
Town Meeting decided that this was such a big issue, that they would defer on making any regulations until we officially became a city, allowing the new City Council and various boards to tackle the issue.
Now the time is here. It’s time for 11 members of the City Council to draft regulations regarding the method, means, and manner in which marijuana will be sold. But they aren’t going in blind. Massachusetts has a cannabis commission that has given guidance on how to approach this task.
The goal of municipalities is to impose “reasonable safeguards” on the operation of marijuana establishments.
Anyone who has been following this over the past year has seen some fairly unreasonable suggestions coming not only from the public but from some of the board members. With the exception of the Board of Health regulations that were recently enacted into law, everything until this point has only been suggestions.
- You need to be 21 before buying or possessing marijuana.
- You can have up to 10 ounces in your home, and only 1 ounce on your person.
- When you transport it (Like after you buy it), it has to be kept in your locked glove compartment, or in your trunk.
- You can’t smoke it in public.
- Retail stores will not be located within 500 feet of any K-12 school.
There is also the question of money. Framingham is poised to receive an influx of cash generated by retail establishments.
Three percent of sales from recreational pot shops will go right back into our bank. That’s on top of the cut we will receive from the cannabis fund set up by the state.
There is also the host agreement that comes from the Mayor’s office. The host agreement should include a payment to the city by the applicant to cover reasonable costs associated with a retail pot shop.
At a time where Framingham is scrambling to find ways to pay for a new school, this may be the break we need to take the heat off the taxpayers for once.
It’s been a proven fact that marijuana has some significant positive medicinal purposes.
This isn’t your grandfather’s pot. This isn’t 1970 when flower power ruled the earth and hippies got stoned on the White House lawn.
Marijuana is here and so is reefer madness.
The residents of Framingham voted for the legalization of marijuana, and the residents of Framingham should be heard when it comes time to enact local laws.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, an acknowledgment has to be made that the issue was put to a vote and the people have spoken.
I have confidence in our City Council that they will do the right thing when it comes to making laws on the sale of marijuana. REASONABLE laws.
Framingham has missed out on its fair share of opportunities recently from Total Wine to the likes of the Apex Center in Marlboro.
Let’s not miss the boat on this opportunity.