New Bylaw a Real Drag for Potheads
Oh, wow, man. Bummer about the new bylaw banning public consumption of herb.
Dude, it’s another attempt to snuff out our Constitutional right to toke up anywhere, anytime. I’m pretty sure it’s in the Constitution, because George Washington grew hemp on his farm, man. And he was, like, the father of our country and stuff. Check it out.
Seriously, hardly anyone at last week’s Annual Town Meeting opposed Warrant Article 7, which bans public consumption of marijuana in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Any expectation that some red-eyed pot proponent would step up at Town Meeting and offer a half-baked defense of weed quickly went up in smoke. Then again, the stoner demographic has historically shied away from anything involving a warrant.
Talk about a wasted opportunity.
With no one willing to stand up for Mary Jane, Article 7 passed Town Meeting by an easy, wide margin.
Article 7 followed in the wake of a Massachusetts ballot initiative in last November’s election that de-criminalized the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, effective January 2, 2009. The passage of Ballot Question 2 was foreshadowed as early as 2006 when the state Legislature’s aptly named Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse backed the idea of decriminalization.
But the decriminalization of pot has sparked moves by many Massachusetts cities and towns to enact local ordinances designed to prevent their local streets and parks from resembling Amsterdam or Seattle. With no serious consequences for possessing a small amount of weed, law enforcement officials feared that there would be little to stop potheads from openly lighting up in public places like Wakefield Common or Colonel Connelly Park.
The new bylaw passed by Town Meeting declares that “No person shall smoke, ingest or otherwise use or consume marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol” in public places such as streets, sidewalks, parks or any area open to the public. The bylaw gives Wakefield Police the power to fine offenders $300.
Amazingly, when one Town Meeting speaker on the marijuana article gave his address as “High St,” no one, least of all the speaker, seemed to pick up on the accidental humor. A pothead would find that hilarious, but Town Meeting isn’t exactly a Grateful Dead concert, so nobody noticed, much less giggled.
To give you an idea how straight Town Meeting attendees are – no one referring to the provisions of Article 7 knew how to correctly pronounce “tetrahydrocannabinol.” Come on, folks. Get with it. That’s Stoner Chemistry 101!
With summer approaching, the passage of Article 7 is a blow to those who were looking forward to whiling away summer afternoons rolling bones on the Common or Colonel Connelly Park and counting the sailboats on the Lake. Talk about passive recreation.
And this new bylaw can’t be good news for the growing number of not-so-transient vendors around the Lake. An afternoon spent on the grass at our public parks had the potential to fuel major munchie attacks. That could have been a boon to Fred and his fellow hot dog vendors at our mini-Revere Beach by the Head of the Lake.
But alas, Town Meeting nipped that in the bud.
It took Woodstock Nation 40 years to finally fulfill their adolescent dream of legalized weed, and now the Town Meeting meanies have come along and spoiled the pot party before it even got started.
What a drag, dude.
[This column originally appeared in the April 23, 2009 Wakefield Daily Item.]
Filed under: Columns & Essays, Humor, Opinion, Wakefield | 7 Comments
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