Today, the first marijuana storefront in Boston, Massachusetts opens its doors. The marijuana storefront opens roughly a year and a half since “legal” sales began in Massachusetts. Notably, the store is the first to be opened as a part of the state’s social equity program.
Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration, released the following statement in response:
“Four years ago, a bipartisan group of lawmakers formed the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts to promote the fact that marijuana commercialization would prove harmful. They were right to do so then and have only been proven right given the evidence of harms resulting from legal pot.
“Given the host of harms, it’s no wonder more than 100 communities have chosen to opt-out of commercialization in Massachusetts and we are doubling our efforts, through our recently announced ‘Towns and Cities Initiative’, to help more communities exert local control over the industry and keep their neighborhoods safe.
“Massachusetts’ marijuana regime is in shambles. According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, past month and past year use among youth aged 12- 17 has increased, poison control centers have reported massive increases in marijuana exposure in children, emergency room visits related to marijuana have soared, and charges of corruption abound. All this, while tax revenues have been woefully sparse.
“Additionally, the underground market is thriving while the industry regulatory board is quick to sweep damaging information on the industry under the rug, as evident in the recent coverage of numerous cases of the vaping illness being tied to marijuana products purchased at Massachusetts dispensaries.
“Massachusetts’ pot industry perfectly illustrates why legalization promoter’s promises of social justice and equity are nothing more than a pipe dream. It has been reported that a handful of out of state corporations locked up the majority of retail licenses and some 90% of businesses do not identify with any Diversity in Ownership criteria.
“Finally, the fact that it has taken almost two years for an economic empowerment applicant to receive their license and open up shop speaks to the truth of the situation: legalization is about money, not equality.
“We look forward to continue helping more and more local communities exert local control over a rapidly expanding marijuana industry, exposing the harms the industry propagates, and dispelling the myth that commercialization is anything other than a social injustice.”