One-Stop Shopping in Financial District Should Include Buying Medicinal Pot

Thursday, July 23, 2015

When the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals meets next on August 4, I hope it votes to approve a permit sought by a medical marijuana dispensary to open a retail outlet at 21 Milk Street in the Financial District.

It's not that I ever plan on buying any medicine there, although it would probably do my aching back some good every now and then to light up one for liberty, it's just that opponents of a pot shop at 21 Milk have their heads screwed on backwards and deserve to be defeated.

As declared by a large majority of Massachusetts voters, medical marijuana is a legal product in this state.  To purchase it, a citizen will need a prescription from a physician or other licensed medical professional, any one of whom can lose her license for prescribing this or any other medicine for the wrong reasons.

Why, then, should anyone fear what someone holding a prescription for pot will do in the process of filling that prescription?  Why would anyone think the pot prescription holder will do anything more dangerous or anti-social than someone who routinely fills a prescription for other kinds of pain killers or anti-anxiety medicine?  Aren't people likely filling prescriptions for Percocet and Vicodin every day at pharmacies in the Financial District without incident?  So what's the big deal about people buying medical marijuana there?

Yet, when a public hearing was held on July 7 on the license application by Patriot Care Corp., the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District was there to register its unequivocal opposition.  The Boston Herald quoted the chairman of this organization as saying, "Our members have invested a lot of dollars in this area at a time when it was in decline.  We feel it's on the upswing, and this is a step in the wrong direction." 

The Boston Police Department also opposed the license for Patriot Care.  The consequences of opening a pot shop at 21 Milk figure to be a "great unknown," a police superintendent testified.

The Financial District is exactly the kind of area where a medical marijuana dispensary should be located.  It's a great beehive of human activity.  Tens of thousands of people work and shop there every day.  People also go to doctor appointments and dentist appointments and physical therapy appointments in the district every day, and no one ever takes notice of all those comings and goings.

And no one, I predict, will ever take much notice of people getting their medical marijuana prescriptions filled in the district after the first few days that Patriot Care is open for business and the news reporters and camera persons for the TV stations go away.  The great unknown in this deal is  certain to wind up as a great yawn.

Memo to the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District: Stop chasing phantoms on Milk Street.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, August 4, the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals voted to grant conditional approval to Patriot Care Corp. to open a marijuana dispensary at 21 Milk St.  A spokesman for the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance said afterwards: "This sends a message across the state that the medical marijuana group can be integrated into the community helpfully, and that it's a compassionate medical service."

No comments:

Post a Comment