I vowed to quit with marijuana, but I just can’t. It’s addictive.
We can go back to 2016, when voters were hit with legalese that can only be described as a trap. Basically, under the mask of legalizing the consumption of marijuana, the ballot question was really about opening recreational pot shops around the corner. No doubt many, many people voted for legalization without knowledge of this and with no desire to have pot shops in their town. What exultation must have come from the lawyers working for the industry, when their masterstroke made it to the fine print:
A town voting to legalize marijuana
may MUST open pot shops.
At the same time, the administration of Newton changed. Councilors who liked the place the way it is and wanted to protect it lost to others who wanted it more vibrant. The new councilors and the new mayor sided with the marijuana industry.
The way in which they eventually won is sinister. The context was that everybody in Newton wants at least some restriction on the number of marijuana stores. But don’t take my word for this claim: even the pro-pot councilors believe so, and in fact almost unanimously they put a question on the ballot about restricting the number of stores. At the same time, many people in Newton wanted zero stores. In another masterstroke of the saga, the councilors were able to put one group against the other. They added another question about having zero stores, following a massive, grassroots petition which however should have put the question at a different time. Then they forced the people who wanted zero stores to vote against restricting the number of stores. This is genius. Also, if it isn’t illegal I believe it should be. And in perfect coup style, media outlets censored several pieces explaining the situation to the voters. The end result was what the administration had always wanted: no restriction on the number of stores. Ignore the alarms of the doctors, the police officers, and the people. What do they know about what’s best for Newton? The bottom line is that the revenue will do good things for the city! Oh yes, the revenue. Newton has 1 billion dollars in deficit. You read well, 1 billion. For decades we will have a fraction of the city budget wiped out to repay that. I guess they can say we are so desperately in debt that we should rake in every penny we can zone in town. But I think a more accurate perspective is that even in their wildest dreams, cannabis sales won’t make a dent in that. And maybe they should spend a couple of minutes thinking about the dozens of other ways we can bring money to the city without bringing the drugs.
Executing their sophisticated plan cost in the neighborhood of $100k, mostly spent on a political strategy group which helped win the election. To add insult to injury, key members of this marijuana combine, including the political strategists and those who funded them, don’t live in Newton but in towns where recreational pot stores are banned. The marijuana combine is effectively carving out suburban Boston in areas where it’s good to live and areas where it’s good to sell pot.
As is well known, nobody has any problem with legalizing marijuana consumption. Moreover, there is absolutely no problem with buying this stuff over the internet, or stocking up at out-of-the-way stores. Well, absolutely no problem except one. The money wouldn’t go into the pockets of X, Y, and Z.