Middleboro Debates Merits of Medical Marijuana Dispensary

MASSACHUSETTS: Thursday is the state’s deadline to apply for a license to dispense medical marijuana and town officials are grappling with the idea of someone growing and selling medical marijuana in Middleboro.

The police chief and chairman of the Board of Selectmen are strongly opposed, but one selectman said the town already is getting regulations ready should Middleboro end up hosting a marijuana dispensary.

Selecmen are scheduled to discuss the marijuana issue at a meeting on Aug. 26.

The Green Harvest Wellness Group is considering locating a facility in the region and representatives talked to a few Middleboro officials about a potential site in town.

“The area is a good area, one the group is familiar with, but they have not selected a site,” said Chris Reilly, spokesperson for the Green Harvest Wellness group, whose principal is Timothy Shaw of Middleboro.

Shaw referred all questions about a medical marijuana facility to Reilly.

Police Chief Bruce D. Gates is adamantly against marijuana dispensaries because he says they are not allowed under federal law. Additionally, Gates believes marijuana is a gateway drug that would lead to the use of other drugs.

Gates is not alone. Selectmen Chairman Stephen J. McKinnon believes using marijuana can lead to harder drugs. “We’ve got big drug troubles in our town,” he said. “They start with marijuana.”

“This is just a ploy to get marijuana legalized,” McKinnon said. “We’ve got a big enough drug problem in Middleboro. I don’t want to encourage more.”

Reilly, the Green Harvest spokesman, said, “There’s lots of misconceptions out there. People have to recognize this is medicine; a doctor has to recommend it.”

Reilly differentiates between medical use and recreational use of marijuana.

“There’s plenty of documented evidence that medical marijuana is a tremendous benefit to sick people,” he said. “What we’re interested in is providing a very high quality medicine for people who are sick.”

“If you can find relief in medical marijuana that’s a good thing,” Reilly said. “My whole point, if someone has a terminal illness, or tremendous pain, if they can find some level of relief with this organic plant, how can anyone be opposed?”

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