By Ben Jacques
from the Stoneham Independent, Sept. 28, 2016
The candy rollout was impressive. How about some Peppermint Wanna Mints? Or Watermelon Sour Gummies?
Prefer chocolate? Try Dark Chocolate Leafs, or the Boulder Bar, milk chocolate with toffee.
Or try ‘peanut butter nirvana’ with a Peanut Budda Bar, a smiling Buddha face on the candy wrapper.
Finally, for that after dinner mint, “breathe easy” with sublime spearmint Chill Pills.
O, there’s one thing you should know. These yummy treats are not for sale in Massachusetts. But they are in Colorado. Each brightly wrapped candy contains a dosage of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
On November 8 we get to vote on a ballot question that could bring the sale and marketing of recreational marijuana to Massachusets. To Stoneham.
Proponents of Ballot Question 4 say adults have the right to smoke, eat or chew marijuana products. They also claim that the revenue derived from legalization and regulation will enable our state to do good things.
Opponents, however, say the Question 4 proposal is rife with dangers for our communities and our children.
Two weeks ago Dr. Ruth Potee, a board-certified addictions specialist from Greenfield, spoke at a community forum in Winchester about ‘Teen Brain Development’ and marijuana.
Addiction, Dr. Potee said, is a “pediatric developmental disease.” The earlier children and teens are exposed to substances like nicotine, alcohol and marijuana, the more likely they will become addicted to opioids or alcohol.
The community forum also heard from our state senator, Jason Lewis. He is the chair of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana. Having spent months researching marijuana use and legalization in Colorado, Senator Lewis is warning us about its dangers.
The reasons for saying no to marijuana legalization in Massachusetts are many. The potency of cannabis used today is much higher than the grass of the past. And the growth of marijuana edibles—the fastest-growing segment of the cannabis industry—makes their access by children and teens much more likely.
We also have no protocols for traffic safety enforcement regarding driving while intoxicated with cannabis.
As our communities struggle to deal with opioid abuse and its tragic consequences, we should not open our towns to a profit-driven marijuana industry.
Is all this making you thirsty? Don’t reach for a cannabis cola. Instead, get a glass of cold, clear water. And vote no on Question 4 on November 8
Note: Ben Jacques is a member of Stoneham Coalition: Substance Abuse Education & Prevention. You can learn more about substance addiction and recovery at www.stonehamsac.com