How Do We Educate People About Cannabis?

“We are concerned that dispensaries in our neighborhoods will normalize the use of marijuana even further than it already is,” said Anita Seefried-Brown of the Watertown-based Alliance for Better Communities, which is focused on reducing underage substance abuse.

I sat down with my nieces, 22 and 19, and read the quote above. They both had the same reaction, “that’s dumb.” Agree, but why?

Their answers were spot on. People get older, have children, hear the word drugs, and freak. I asked the question, “how do we change the narrative that has been embedded in our society for decades?” Just saying no was absurd. Who would actually do what Nancy Regan said in the first place? Kids will be kids forever. Adults recreationally drink alcohol and smoke weed. Wouldn’t it make sense to teach that instead of keeping the products behind lock and key?

The cities and towns that choose to opt-out of the dispensaries are making mistakes. We can begin with the taxes that are a tremendous bonus to the town’s bottom line. These stores will have 24-hour security, a nice boon for any street. You have to be 21 to go in, like a liquor store or a bar. This is a place where people purchase weed that is Government controlled. Do you believe that keeping this out of the town will stop the kids from getting stoned? Data points to cities with dispensaries numbers have dropped in consumption.

If these stores are embraced and allowed to be more of a lifestyle concept, it is a win for any neighborhood. Those that opt-out aren’t reading the data or listening to the over 21-crowd. Times are changing, and opting out will be a scramble for towns that change their minds, waiting for the next round of dispensary licenses to be issued after the first round. That could take five years or a decade. In this instance, first in usually wins.