High priorities

02Dec16

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Wakefield voters got fooled once into voting for “medical” marijuana, falling for the scam along with the rest of the state in 2012.

safety_pin-fxBefore you get your safety pins out, let me remind you that medical marijuana was sold under the guise of helping the sick, and the people of Wakefield are compassionate. So I can give them a pass on that. I’ve never maintained that marijuana hasn’t ever helped any sick person, although I believe that such instances are extremely rare. It was a scam in the sense that the true purpose of legalizing medical marijuana was never to help the sick. It was to get a foot in the door for full legalization.

That’s become obvious to most people by now.

And to their credit, Wakefield voters didn’t get fooled a second time. They bucked the statewide trend and voted against legalizing recreational marijuana when it was on the ballot last month.

I’d like to think my War on Weed had something to do with that.

So now, in an effort to carry out the expressed will of the people of Wakefield, the Board of Selectmen intends to put a measure on the April Town Election ballot to ban any commercial recreational marijuana enterprise in Wakefield, including cultivation and retail sales.

selectmen102416a

The new law created by Question 4 graciously provides for an “opt-out” by which a city or town can ban commercial production and retail marijuana sales. But because Question 4 was written by the marijuana industry, they decided to make it as difficult and expensive as possible for a town to keep marijuana cultivation operations and retail stores out.

So a mayor, city council or Board of Selectmen can’t just decide to ban commercial pot operations. Nor can it be done by Town Meeting action. That would be too easy. It has to be put on the ballot and voted at an election.

Not that I’m concerned about the Cannabis Community rising up and coming out to vote en masse at a Town Election next spring. That would require knowing when the election is, and knowing when the election is would require paying attention to local news. “Attention” is not something generally associated with marijuana users, although judging by their Facebook posts, many of them have managed to become a PhD-level scholars in the chemistry of getting high.

But I don’t mean to alarm the local herb enthusiasts. Even if the stodgy voters of Wakefield do ban retail pot stores, you’ll still be able to legally while away your days on the couch watching the Cartoon Network through a haze of blue smoke. You’ll just have to ride your bikes to another town if you want to purchase weed commercially.

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And take heart. The local prohibition would apply only to commercial production and sales. You’ll still be able to grow your six plants as allowed under the new law, assuming mom and dad or your landlord is OK with it. And we know that you would only grow it for your own “personal use,” in accordance with the law, and would never dream of selling any of your homegrown. That would be illegal, after all.

The commercial sales aspect of the new law isn’t set to go into effect until 2018 anyway, so towns like Wakefield have time to act to keep it out. The rest of the law, the parts that pertain to using and growing recreational pot for personal use are supposed to go into effect in two weeks, on Dec. 15.

But according to Secretary of State Bill Galvin, legalization could be delayed beyond that date. The record voter turnout and a new requirement to conduct post-election audits mean that certifying the vote on Question 4 may not be his office’s top priority.

“The presidency of the United States is more important, and members of Congress are more important than this marijuana matter,” Galvin told Fox25 News this week.

God, I love it when adults talk.

Vancouver Global Marijuana March 2015 - by Danny KresnyakBut eventually the law will go into effect. Remember how much time, money and resources had to be expended to sort out the medical marijuana mess? Multiply that times 10 for recreational pot.

We’re about to expend millions of dollars and untold resources for what? Just so people can get high legally.

It’s a good thing we don’t have more pressing needs.

[This column originally appeared in the December 2, 2016 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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