Commercial ‘pot shops’ will hurt the drug cartels

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By Saturday, Sep 23 Letters  14 Comments

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.

Jon Piasecki

West Stockbridge

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14 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Janice says:

    Thank you Jon…..for taking the time to articulate an opinion.
    I agree.

  2. Bob says:

    Great work Jon. Very nice response to Richard’s letter the other day. There is so much opportunity in this sector.

  3. Linda b horn says:

    Agreed, and many users grow their own and never a reported death
    From use. Richard should use his energy to deal with the opiod crisis as there is no weed crisis.
    My visits to Stockbridge surprised me because of the bad food and boring curio shops, it feels dead.

    1. Richard F Squailia says:

      Hi Linda,
      West Stockbridge is often confused with Stockbridge. I think you will find the food very interesting and certainly the the town more lively!

  4. Tam says:

    Thank-you for speaking out and voicing what many feel ,I know of too many opiod based death’s.Not ever hearing of any marijuana based death’s,and I have lived in several parts of the U.S.

  5. Richard F Squailia says:

    Thanks Jon for your insights. I appreciate the opportunity to engage in a public dialogue as we approach Town Meeting. Part of the referendum and law allows West Stockbridge, and each town and city, to ban pot shops. My concern is for the looming billion dollar Marijuana Industry and the effects it will have on our community. Local agriculture is as bucolic a vision as my quaint town image. We each have our visions grounded in the reality of our area.
    I believe in supporting casual and compassionate use of marijuana. The commercialization and visitors from surrounding states who will come only to buy pot from shops owned by large commercial interests, not at all.
    There will be a lot of shaming and accusations in this debate but my hope is that we can remember that we are Neighbors together seeking a better outcome for the Berkshires.

    1. Jon Piasecki says:

      Neighbors don’t ban other neighbors.

      1. Tom S says:

        From your writing, you seem very smug (and unhappy); it really takes away from you point.

  6. Barbara says:

    I could not agree more with Jon’s piece. And, our farmers need this product to help support their businesses year round , since it is a difficult to make a decent living as a farmer as we all know.
    And, yes, grass is not killing our neighbors the way opioids, heroin and even liquor can ( shall we throw fast food in there, too?)!
    Again, look to other countries who have normalized recreational drugs, are there problems there? oh, wait, they also have health care for all, too….crazy!!!

  7. Ellen says:

    Finally, we can speak out in support of legal cannabis use and sale. In West Stockbridge we should be inviting these businesses to come and open shops here. What a great addition that would make to the funky shops and tradition of open mindedness and inclusion that has long been here on the Westside. Thanks John, I’ll be there!

  8. Ellen says:

    Finally our voices can be heard! What a great addition to the funky shops and artist community that has long been the tradition in West Stockbridge. Thanks John for articulating so clearly and I’ll be there!

  9. sarajay says:

    With all due respect, drug cartels are exploiting Colorado’s legal weed business, buying it up and reselling it elsewhere and trading heroin for it ontop of running large grow opps . This is happening BECAUSE weed is legal. Mass. sent a group of senators out to investigate some of these things and one of the big concerns was that the cartels and their local street contacts can now meet the needs of younger people who can’t buy.

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