While voters voted overwhelmingly to approve medical marijuana in the Nov. 6 election, there is a fear that a dispensary located in a community could undercut local antidrug efforts.
“All three communities have active substance abuse prevention coalitions,” said Ruth Clay, director of public health for the three communities. “In Melrose, we have 11 years, and over $1 million in grant money, to work with our youth. We don’t feel that having one of these [dispensaries] in our community really fits in with our vision.”
At the Nov. 15 Wakefield Town Meeting, Police Chief Richard Smith urged residents to support the ban. He cited data showing a spike in crime and illicit drug use in other states where medical marijuana is legal.
“My concern for us as a community is to protect our property values, and more importantly, to protect our children,” Smith said.
Some parents agreed.
“If children see medical marijuana dispensaries on a street corner, their perception of risk will go down,” said Catherine Bingham, a mother of two. “They will not see [marijuana use] as risky behavior.”