To the editor:
In a recent letter, Richard Squailia has urged the citizens of the Berkshires to reject marijuana shops. He identifies the “quaint character” of our New England villages as being “at risk” from his perceived evils of marijuana sales. In spite of the cannabis prohibition that had been in effect for over 70 years, I must clarify for Mr. Squailia that marijuana is here in New England in force and has played a big role in our community character in the Berkshires. Pot has been a constant for the last several decades right here next to Alice’s Restaurant.
Further, we who live in Berkshires are not just a backdrop for Mr. Squailia’s dream quaintness photo shoot. We are real people with real lives. In addition if one does not like pot shops one is under no obligation to go to them.
Marijuana is literally everywhere in New England, though perhaps Squailia has missed it. The prohibition has failed. The people have spoken and they want marijuana legalized. This proposed ban is nothing more than a veiled attempt to squash the will of the people who voted to legalize pot. For Squailia legalization is fine but he offers nowhere to buy in a pot shop. His efforts are nothing more than continuation of the prohibition. All his commercial ban will do is stimulate the black market for cannabis, which is already reeling from the legalization price drop.
Pot is less valuable when it is legal, and guess who that hurts? Drug Cartels. By forcing sales into a black market by banning shops, this new “ban” will just continue business as usual for the illegal drug economy. The drug cartels really are “bad guys” to quote our national clown. They sell heroin, too. Mr. Squailia might not of heard of that in his quaint New England fantasy. Heroin is right here amidst our lovely colonials and colorful leaves. Legalization hurts the cartels. Pot shops undercut the bottom line of the people who move heroin here. So pot shops hurt cartel profits. That is good!
What about our economy? We live in a great place to grow marijuana. It could be a real profit center as the hard-working Ted Dobson has been trying to make clear on a state level. Why can’t a Berkshire farmer grow excellent sun-grown organic medicinal cannabis with an artisanal cure and sell it in a pot shop in, let’s say, West Stockbridge?
Squailia’s neo-Puritan zeal is misguided and harmful to our communities and economy. We need marijuana brought out of the darkness and into the light.
Again the people have spoken. WE WANT POT LEGALIZED. WE SUPPORT LOCAL AGRICULTURE. The caps are for Mr. Squailia, who might not have heard. If you care about this, please come to a public hearing on the subject to be held in the West Stockbridge Town Hall on Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. You can let the new Puritans know how you feel. If you want legalized pot and you don’t come, the prohibitionists just might win.