By Erica Liu
On November 6th, in our Special Town meeting, Bedford voters will determine whether a ban will be enacted on the establishment of recreational marijuana stores in our town, not medical dispensaries.
What is important to know is: both recreational and medical use of marijuana is considered legal in Massachusetts (Public consumption is still illegal here). But commercial production and sale (age 21 and over) of marijuana products is intended to become legal under the new state law in 2018.
Although our town, along with 89 other communities, voted against the legalization and commercialization of recreational marijuana products in November 2016, the ballot question prevailed statewide.
We can say “NO” at the town meeting.
Massachusetts law requires voters to take another step and “opt-out” in order to prohibit the establishment of commercial recreational marijuana-related businesses. This is a critical step if our town voters believe our small town is not a good fit for retail pot shops.
In other states, where marijuana outlets proliferate, youth use rates for the drug ranks highest. Where there is more marijuana, more kids use.
There are about 110 communities throughout Massachusetts have established or considered restrictions on the recreational marijuana industry.
So far, no enforceable controls for potency level (THC) exist for cannabis products in any of the laws or regulations. A formal study published by the Colorado Department of Revenue found the average THC potency levels in cannabis flowers at 17.1% and 62.1% for cannabis extract. To give some context, the potency of flowers in the 1970’s was 1-3% and in the 1990’s at 3-5%. As a comparison, grain alcohol (at 95% pure) is illegal in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth regulates the potency of alcohol but not on marijuana.
The law enforcement on recreational marijuana impact such as traffic accidents, how to regulate advertisement of cannabis-infused products hence minimize the impact on our youth, still remain unknown or unclear.
Here are some commercialized marijuana products that could be sold in our town