Members of the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA) said they would like assurances from the Liberty Compassionates group that the proposed medical marijuana store would not switch to a recreational store, but couldn’t get those assurances on Tuesday night.
Several WSANA members and Matt Mues – who was visiting from Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood Association – asked the Liberty group for an assurance on the matter, but spokesman Vin Giordano was hesitant to pull the trigger on a guarantee, although he has said they are currently only applying for a medical license.
“If ever we ever decide to go that route (for recreational), I have to start from the beginning and do the same process again,” said Giordano, though he wouldn’t commit to saying he would never go recreational.
“You asked me about my biggest failures previously, and one of those was I committed to something too early on in a business,” he continued. “It’s difficult to say early on…We just applied for our zoning variance…All of our materials and our applications are for medical.”
It was the second time that Liberty had presented in the neighborhood, and they are scheduled to give their largest presentation yet at the Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood Association tonight, Sept. 27. Blackstone is the host association of the 591 Albany St. proposal – which is the building that now houses the Boston Flower Market. WSANA borders the proposal and has major concerns about such a store exacerbating the drug abuse and opiate problems that exist on the streets just a few blocks down in their neighborhood.
Matt Mues, from Blackstone, said he believes the buffer zone that Liberty would bring with their medical proposal would win over the neighborhood. With at least two other proposals vying for the same territory in the South End, only the Liberty proposal is going for medical at the moment.
“That buffer zone you create with your medical proposal, that’s advantageous,” he said. “We have two other proposals that are going to be recreational and they will have the lines out the door and the problems…You would then eliminate the recreational that everyone is concerned about.”
He said he was pretty sure Blackstone would look more favorably on a medical proposal, and WSANA has already said they would as well.
Other concerns were that customers would buy the product and then use it outside the shop or nearby.
Giordano said that is absolutely not allowed. He said anyone caught doing that by law would get a $100 ticket, and would be barred from coming back to the dispensary. He also said the state is looking into attaching such problems to a person’s medical marijuana card so that stores would know of problematic patients.
He said he would have no problem barring patients from the store if they had been caught using the product publicly in the neighborhood.
- Desi Murphy of WSANA brought up the fact that a new state program allows prisoners who are using Methadone before going to jail to continue that treatment while in jail is not being used at the Suffolk County House of Corrections – which is square in the middle of the opiate epidemic epicenter.
He said other counties are using that program, but Suffolk County isn’t.
“It doesn’t make sense to me that the jail sitting on Methadone Mile is not going to be participating in the program,” he said.
Helaine Simmonds suggested that they have Sheriff Steve Tompkins come to the next meeting and explain why.
They agreed to invite him to come talk about that at the next meeting.
- The WSANA membership voted 15-0 to write an official letter in support of rebuilding the Long Island Bridge, which many in the neighborhood hope will help the opiate epidemic on their streets and get loiterers into recovery.
- The association also voted 11-2 with two abstentions to support the idea of adding needle recovery boxes to some areas of WSANA, including kiosk boxes that could be located on the sidewalks or in parks. The idea is that used needles could be safely placed in the kiosks, and then disposed of property by the City. Already, there are kiosks on Northampton Street and in Newmarket’s Clifford Park.
Some were skeptical, saying having such things in parks might lead people to think it’s okay to “shoot up” in a park. Two did vote against.
- The WSANA Tree Lighting has been scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2. Santa has been invited officially and is expected to make another stellar appearance. Fundraising tickets will become available at the October meeting.