Question #4. If it passed it would have a negative impact on the safety and health of our community, especially our youth and future generations.
This ballot question is about allowing commercial sales in cities and towns in Massachusetts. It would also allow people to grow marijuana in their homes. A NO vote will keep marijuana retailers out of our community and lessen the availability of this drug to our youth.
Marijuana was decriminalized in Massachusetts in 2008 (possession of less than one ounce is a civil infraction) and medical marijuana has been legal here since 2012. If people want to smoke marijuana in their homes, they can do that now. The police cannot arrest them for possession or search cars, etc.
I believe supporting this ballot question will increase the availability of marijuana and will have no benefit to anyone other than those who are looking to profit from this industry. The low taxation rate proposed will do little to combat the price our residents will pay for drug treatment, the lives lost due to impaired driving and will open to further drug experimentation and addictions.
I believe supporting this ballot question puts our community at risk. We are already in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Families are losing loved ones to this horrible addiction on a daily basis. Marijuana is a harmful drug and research shows that the long term use impairs the cognitive abilities of those who use it regularly. Supporting a ballot question that increases the access to this drug, especially to our youth, just does not make sense.
In other states marijuana retailers are marketing edible items such as gummy candy and cookies that are attractive to young people and puts children at risk who may ingest them accidentally. In Colorado, there has been a 62 percent increase in traffic fatalities since they have legalized marijuana.
The role of the Watertown Police Department is to protect and serve those in our community. Help us keep our community and our children safe by taking actions that decrease the availability of drugs, not the opposite.
Michael P. Lawn
Chief of Police
(Editor’s Note: the last letters about the Nov. 8 election will be run on Sunday Nov. 6, and must be submitted by Saturday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.)