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City Council to consider barring pot shops, bars and liquor stores next to substance-abuse centers

City councilors agreed today to study possible zoning changes that would bar temptation from people going to substance-abuse facilities.

Councilor Lydia Edwards (East Boston, Charlestown, North End) proposed a hearing on amending a zoning code that already limits marijuana shops and dispensaries from being located within a half mile of each other to include drug- and alcohol-treatment programs.

Edwards said she voted to legalize marijuana but said it just didn't seem fair to put them right where people would be gathering to try to begin to beat an addiction.

"I'd be equally concerned about a bar or liquor store," she said.

Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) said now is the time to do something, because the industry is so new in Massachusetts. "Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can't put it back in," he said.

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But pot doesnt make you angry like booze does.

In fact it can help some people going through withdrawals.

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>"Boston City Council Public Meeting Transcript
>"Disclaimer: This is an unedited transcript of the closed captioning, provided by a third party. These are not the official minutes of this meeting.
>"October 3, 2018 transcript
>"Read the Transcript of this Public Meeting"

Scroll down all the way to Link at
https://www.boston.gov/public-notices/36846

The public funded Stenographic Record of the City Council Public Meeting, a more accurate edited onsite Document than flawed lacking inaccurate video captions transcripts produced offsite, can be requested from the Office of the Boston City Council President at https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/andrea-campbell

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While the intent behind this change is good, a 1/2 mile in a dense city like Boston is actually quite a big distance. The unintended side effects of something like this are huge. It essentially means whatever comes first determines what a neighborhood will be able to provide for its residents. Treatment center comes first? No bars or liquor stores for you! A bar or liquor store comes first? Sorry, no treatment centers!

This reminds me of the stricter penalties that were set for doing drugs in a "school zone." In dense urban neighborhoods, particularly where there are multiple schools, large parts of the neighborhoods are considered in a school zone, even when not directly adjacent to a school. That law ended up being misapplied quite frequently to people doing drugs in their homes that just happened to be within a few blocks of a school.

In other words: Be careful what you wish for.

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Pot isn't the gateway drug that the reefer madness crowd thinks it is, nor is it anywhere near as addictive as they claim. Contrarily, cannabis has potential to be used as a means of weening off of opiates. It seems to me that, if anything, you would want a dispensary in close proximity to a treatment center for that purpose. As for alcohol, an alcoholic can't just switch to marijuana without going through serious withdrawal symptoms. They're not compatible like that. Grouping all drugs together as "temptations" is silly and IMO unproductive, if not counterproductive.

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Citations needed

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There's not as much data out there as there should be, thanks to our draconian federal government's decision to designate cannabis as a schedule 1 drug (meaning little to no funding for studies), but there is still a fair amount of literature on the subject. Google will give you plenty more results than what I've listed below.

Cannabis reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms.
https://drugabuse.com/legalizing-marijuana-decreases-fatal-opiate-overdo...

Cannabis can be addictive for certain people, but not everyone who uses it. This article also notes that more research is needed.
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/mariju...

For comparison/reference, an article about chocolate and its addictive potential.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-you-become-addicted-to-chocolate...

And finally, an anecdote - I smoke frequently, but not always daily. No issues when I don't smoke, and I'm not clamoring to try something harder. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I’m seeing plenty of wealthy suburban kids dropping out of school and smoking weed and k2 daily. Many of them will have wealthy parents who can repair their lives afterward. Some will never recover. The effect on poor kids will be 10 times worse.

As for the adults I know who use it, they seem more functional than alcoholics but still fairly pathetic, and many who are on other drugs seek out weed in addition to their regular fix.

We are experimenting on our most vulnerable populations.

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K2 is made by buying chemicals that labs use (drug, plastics and materials labs), and mixing it into something that will burn. These chemicals come to the makers in giant 10 gallon drums that say "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION". What this blend of chemicals is changes quite drastically based on nothing more than what they have on hand. Which means you think you tried it before and it was mellow, but even though the packaging is the same, it's completely different ingredients inside. Certain blends permanently damage your brain after ONE use. By that I mean you will never be able to get back to where you were before mentally. EVER. Even after rehab and a decades time. These changes can give you permanent mental conditions, such as seizures, schizophrenia, personality change, massive paranoia, permanent hallucinations and frequently leads people to commit suicide. All possible after trying it once.

Weed is a flower.
A flower I might ad that allows me to calm massive migraines that after 10 years of trail and error with heavy hitting medications that leave me zoned out, I was finally able to function again. With all the information on what is in it, on the side of the label.

Do not speak of K2 and Weed as if they are interchangeable.

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what do you think poppy is?

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Saying it is a flower was not supposed to mean that all flowers are harmless, just that K2 is made in a lab and hasn't been around for thousands of years. Of course there are poisonous flowers. Also putting opium/herion next to weed as equals is insane. The addictiveness of opium is extreme and the impact to ones body is drastic. People don't kill other people for $20 to go buy weed. Nor are weed smokers losing hair and body mass.

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K2 is not weed. Its SYNTHETIC weed.

And would never be sold at a pot shop in this state. It's also illegal.

K2 causes the problems. K2 is also what the junkies are smoking since it causes an 'escape'. Its very popular down on methadone mile because it causes a disconnect.

Weed, worse thing you do is get the munchies and be lazy. But not everyone is like that.

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Hint: They're certainly not getting it at any recreational dispensaries. Marijuana has been readily available to those who want it for decades. Opening a few stores is not going to change who uses it.

Prohibition was a complete failure, and it put a lot of good (mostly minority) people into jail, ruining their lives' potential. Is that what you'd prefer? The rest of us are moving on, you should too.

For the record, I'm a frequent user, and I work two official jobs with an occasional odd-job thrown in for good measure. Not because I need the money. Just because I want to. The lazy stoner stereotype is bullshit.

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The lack of study is the problem. There are many people that feel normal on substances because they feel awful all the time. This isn't the same as addiction. And illegal weed doesn't deter these people. A person that goes to work, pays their bills and never hurts a fly can still be addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Our government has abused the public trust by throwing up barrier after barrier to enacting the law as voters requested. I don't use marijuana now and don't plan to buy any, but I am very worried that my government forcing the majority to live as a small group of people's rules.

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And, Our Highest Court upheld that injustice.

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I am not sure the intent is good. It seems like another excuse to avoid enacting the initiative that that we voted for.

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You should put the pot shops next to the safe injection sites unless you want to make the problem worse and increase crime. When the pure food and drug act was established in 1909 it was done with the iron clad assurance that the politicians would never take the right to prescribe medicine from the doctors. When that authority was given back to the doctors in Portugal in 2001 the end result was an 80% reduction in crime. Curing diabetes by outlawing insulin would actually be a better model for ending people's addiction to fats and sugars. Prohibition has done nothing but increase the demand that drives the market.

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Type I. Be enlightened. Type I and Type II are different. Be precise.

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Medical marijuana: allowing physicians to prescribe stuff that messes with people's heads because sometimes it helps.

Recreational marijuana: caving to hedonism under the guise of libertarianism. A very selective libertarianism.

Safe injection sites: using taxpayer money to try to take the ouch out of very poor personal decisions.

All vastly different things.

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"Medical marijuana: allowing physicians to prescribe stuff that messes with people's heads because sometimes it helps."

Oh, and all the OTHER things that doctors prescribe DON'T mess with people's heads? Wake up.

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Recreational marijuana: caving to hedonism under the guise of libertarianism. A very selective libertarianism.

So...you're ok with alcohol sales and consumption, then?

Safe injection sites: using taxpayer money to try to take the ouch out of very poor personal decisions.

I'm not arguing that using heroin isn't a very poor personal decision, but you seem to have a simplistic take on how to deal with that. Saying "play stupid games, win stupid prizes" may win you some clever points with some people, but real life is a lot more complex. The argument in favor of supervised injection sites (besides preventing overdose deaths, no small thing in and of itself) is that they bring addicts into an environment where they can get services, counseling and help to recover - in other words, the resources needed to change their "very poor personal decisions". Admittedly, there isn't a lot of data, but what there is seems to point to some benefit and no public health or public safety downside. Now, if you want to moralize that people should just not be using those hedonistic drugs, okay, you do you - but that approach has never solved any problems. All it does is make you feel good about not being them.

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that I heard on the radio had a staffer at one of those Vancouver clinics admit that he hasn't quite recovered himself and uses the site to inject on occasion.

In light of that, I choose to moralize.

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that I heard on the radio had a staffer at one of those Vancouver clinics admit that he hasn't quite recovered himself and uses the site to inject on occasion.

Ok. So, that was your total response to my comments? You're not going to address the question about whether you're OK with alcohol sales and consumption? You're not going to even attempt to pretend you know what the phrases "public health" or "public safety" mean?

That's pretty weak even for you, Roman.

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But I'm also very OK with harsh penalties for public intoxication and drunk driving. Especially for repeat offenders.

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Let's be like one of the most backwards nations in the EU.

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THINK OF THE KIDS!!!!

Ban all pizza places and junk food vending machines next to gyms and health facilities
Ban cigarette sales next to medical facilities and schools
Ban all lottery tickets next to schools and gamblers anonymous groups
Ban cars next to schools, kids are getting killed out there

Please big brother make me safe from myself!

//sarcasm

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Candy and tonic are banned in some school districts (and Menino banned their sales in government facilities)
Before taking proactive steps, some boards of health banned the sale of tobacco products from pharmacies.
Heck, the Boston Public Health Commission tried to ban smoking at cigar bars. You know, places that exist to sell cigars for consumption on site.

in short, things like this have been done before, and similar things will be attempted in the future.

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Haven't heard that in a while. Growing up in East Boston in the 60s I heard it daily.

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The menus at the Pleasant Cafe still list the price for tonic.

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Insulted by the notion that they need to be babysat well into adulthood?

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Cause sometimes its not that big of a deal and the upside is it helps a lot of people in the long run because everyone is not smart or educated? Sure would be great if I could get weed at any corner store, but it is not that big of a deal to me.

Despite that I do think the whole "think of the children thing" is over used. But there is room for a middle ground without us just making everything legal and easy to get.

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or use cannabis / THC products, and develop a substance abuse problem. The majority shouldn't be penalized due to dysfunctional addicts.

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Should say NOT DEVELOP A PROBLEM.

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Makes perfect sense. The few people I know who have addiction issues started out with alcohol and pot then moved on to increasingly stronger illegal drugs.

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ALL of the people I know with substance abuse issues started out drinking milk. Definite cause and effect. Ban Milk!!!

Suldog

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Once you start huffin' that stuff...you can't stop or you'll die.

I don't know why it's still allowed. It is literally one of the most corrosive substances known to man.

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How is not putting a pot shop next to a drug rehab facility the same as banning pot shops? You're hysterical.

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So ban any places that serve/sell alcohol in the same way? Probably drank caffeine, the ultimate gateway drug, even earlier. Ban coffeeshops and and any establishemnts that serve or sell caffeinated beverages.

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...nicotine.

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"I was beginning to think we'd be overrun with pot-shops everywhere. Thankgod they've put a stop to the horde of pot-shops everywhere! It's been a zoo out there!. Someone needed to put a stop to this out-of-control marijuana craze and all the pot businesses popping up everywhere!"

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There are six licensed establishments along with a shady liquor store on Canal St., in addition to the other nine licensed establishments and additional liquor store in the Bullfinch Triangle. All within walking distance of the substance abuse clinic on Canal St. and the open-air drug markets at the North Station and Haymarket T stops. I doubt a cannabis dispensary is going to add much to the temptations in the neighborhood.

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This reminds me of laws saying no liquor without permission of the pastor within 500 feet of a "house of worship." I can never remember a call related to a church and a bar but it's on the books.

I'm all in favor of helping people beat addiction but our likely new DA says she won't prosecute anyway. In my experience, almost all marijuana cases were dismissed or continued without finding (CWOF).

By the time the officer had bagged and tagged the "green leafy substance" the users/dealers were back on the street. Most cops have given up on drug arrests and all will give up under our new DA. I'm conservative but believe it's time to end the "War on Drugs." We lost. A long time ago. Legalize, tax and treat.

Some of the best, bravest cops are in the Drug Unit but it has almost become "quaint" knowing that nothing will happen to those arrested, despite all of the hard work. Basically a farce.

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Than you were six months ago.

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So no pot shops within a half mile of every detox, treatment center, methadone clinic, suboxone clinic, and halfway house? That does not leave very much geography in Boston.

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but 1/2 a mile is too broad of radius

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What this would actually look like mapped. I can easily see 1/2m radius' around any treatment center might completely ban shops from the city.

In other news, Lydia Edwards and her poor logic strike again.

https://www.google.com/maps/search/treatment+center/@42.3428152,-71.0883604,13z

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Has the new City Councilor-Elect https://www.necn.com/on-air/as-seen-on/1-on-1-With-Althea-Garrison_NECN-... been attending/observing current Public Meetings of Boston City Council in advance of taking Office?

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