Klein Presented Another Point Of View.

“If I had my way as a benevolent dictator, I wouldn’t have (marijuana shops) in the downtown or the highway business district.” Shannon Hicks, clinic director for the Center for Human Development, said she has seen a “major uptick in substance abuse disorder” over the past year, and asked that the board keep issues of teen and adult addiction in mind in crafting their rules. Resident Andrew Shelffo read a letter from the the Williston Northampton School. The letter noted that the private school’s “hundreds of colorado pot business high school-aged children” walk into downtown Easthampton every day. “Unfortunately, many teens believe marijuana is safe,” Shelffo read. “And widespread availability next to shops they already know and love would only reinforce this impression.” Marijuana is harmful to adolescent health and impairs concentration, memory, decision-making and academic performance, the letter stated. Tricia D’Andrea, a parent and longtime Easthampton resident, spoke out against “head shops” and “vape shops” that sell marijuana paraphernalia. Klein presented another point of view. After describing his marijuana growing workshops, he asked the Planning Board to reject “the old stigma and the old thinking” in crafting regulations. “Someday I would like to see — the way we have craft breweries now — that maybe we’ll have establishments with special strains of marijuana that they’ve bred, and people can go in there and sample the strains, and sit there and enjoy it.” Klein said he would like to see marijuana regulated the same way as alcohol. While admitting that data and research is scanty on the issue of impairment, he suggested that there’s a difference between drunk driving and stoned driving. “There’s an old expression that drunks run red lights, and stoners watch them turn green,” Klein quipped.

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