Monday, November 19, 2018

Pot Shops open in Mass, 2 years after it was voted on

From the Globe:

A pair of veterans will stand at the center of history-making moments scheduled for this week: the first legal marijuana sales in Massachusetts in more than a century.
At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Iraq veteran and medical marijuana advocate Stephen Mandile will walk into Cultivate, a hybrid medical-recreational cannabis shop in Leicester, and buy a quarter-ounce of pot — preferably a sativa — plus some edibles.
Around the same time, Air Force veteran and Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz will approach the counter of New England Treatment Access, or NETA, a similar facility in his city that invited him to be its first customer. He plans to purchase an edible of his own, perhaps a THC-infused chocolate bar.

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Together, the two men will kick off a new era of legal cannabis sales in the Eastern United States.
For Mandile, the moment will be deeply personal. He says he kicked a crippling painkiller addiction by instead treating the PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and chronic pain he developed during his Army service with marijuana. It will also be the culmination of years of advocacy aimed at improving veterans’ access to the drug.
“I get to make history,” Mandile, 41, said Sunday. “It means a lot, and I never expected this would be the outcome of my advocacy — I was just trying to go about helping people. I’m pumped to break the stigma and the weird, scary aura people want to put around cannabis.”

Narkewicz, who quickly noted he “flew a desk” in the Air Force and Air National Guard in the 1980s, sees the start of recreational pot sales somewhat differently. For the mayor, elected in 2011, it’s a chance to prove that the marijuana business can be, well, business as usual — little different from the brew pub ribbon-cutting he attended last week or the restaurant opening he’ll attend next week.
“I’m proud to go to new businesses that create new tax revenue for the city and be there for their opening,” Narkewicz said Sunday. “I’m not going to act any differently because the new business happens to be adult-use marijuana. It’s a legal business in our Commonwealth. If we’re going to destigmatize marijuana, it’s even more important that I be there and treat it like every other company. I’m honored to do it.”

9 Comments:

At November 19, 2018 at 1:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great story about the vet who kicked his opioids with pot. And good for the mayor who speaks the truth, pot shops are new business like any other new business and should be treated that way. Too bad our own mayor does not feel that way. Or does she? Who knows, her transparancy promise is just one of the things she seems to have forgotten about. Instead of leading by example, she is following by design.

 
At November 19, 2018 at 2:34 PM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

Yeah there is irony in this story for sure. Our Mayor seems to be making it more difficult to set up shops here but she caves to the very few who have her ear. At a meeting today at the FPD headquarters talking about the downtown issue's of people hanging around the store fronts. I asked where the VSO was and reminded the group 1 out of 3 homeless people are veterans and suggested bringing back the issue of a Veterans drop in center, like we should have done decades ago when money was raised and the place would have been the Athenaeum in Saxonville. My old nemesis Bill Phelps was there and reminded me of a gathering he and I were at 25 years ago. I had announced that pot would be legal someday and Bill was of coarse against it. Rev Loyd was there and brought up how bad pot shops would be. I thought I would finally go to a meeting and not talk about pot... but noooo. Two years after it was approved by the voters, reefer madness is still alive and well here in the Ham. I reminded Bill and the Rev that opioid overdoes are down in Stat that have medicalized and legalized cannabis. No one said a word after that.

 
At November 19, 2018 at 3:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you for calling those people who are completely out of touch with the facts on their bias. If you want to talk about an issue then you should know what you are talking about. Clearly they don't. Is downtown even in the zone where these shops can go?

 
At November 19, 2018 at 4:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I have to ask what the conclusion of your meeting about vagrants was. Are we going to bus them all the Newton or Westwood?

 
At November 19, 2018 at 4:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never thought I would live to see the day we could buy pot in a store. Thanks to people like Jim for making this happen. I may need to take a ride to one of these shops tomorrow just to experience the thrill of legally buying the stuff. When will I be able to do that here in Framingham?

 
At November 19, 2018 at 5:31 PM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

perhaps spring or summer next year for Framingham, retail if at all. I may be wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if the crowds were not as large as they think in Leicester. Why pay 20% tax when you can grow your own for a lot less.

 
At November 19, 2018 at 5:43 PM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

Busing them to Newton.. I love that.
No firm conclusion was derived from the meeting as I see it. FPD made it clear, you can't arrest your way out of this and I agree.
I think the VSO will have to play more of a role in this... for veterans anyway. SMOC is doing everything they can do IMO. I later thought with this low unemployment rate, have local companies who need unskilled temporary labor, post with the SMOC people. A place for them to go was talked about at the prison. Not a bad idea, but who pays is the question.. will it be a SMOC entity? In the spring bike cops will be back on the streets and whenever possible, FPD manpower will be patrolling downtown. There's talk of removing the benches and putting in benches you can only sit on for a few minutes. If your going to do that just remove them all together.The one party that I would have thought should be there is the Salvation Army. There are no single answers to addiction, alcoholism and homelessness.

 
At November 20, 2018 at 12:20 PM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

Everything is going well in the two new pot shops. 1000 people have already purchased. I wonder if this will tail off this week or maintain this steady consumer demand.

 
At November 21, 2018 at 8:42 AM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

The papers are reporting 2 thousand customers from all over New England and New York. Both companies may be running low on supply by now.
And the sky didn't fall.

 

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