The legalization of marijuana debate is raging across the country as states like Colorado have legalized the product for public consumption. That debate has not excluded Boston or other municipalities across Massachusetts. Here in the City of Boston, two dispensaries have been approved by the Massachusetts Department Of Health (DPH) with one located at 364 Boylston Street in a major retail district of the city and the other at 70 Southampton Street adjacent to a nearby highly residential area in Roxbury, MA.
What is most disturbing is the secretive manner in which the DPH arrived at their decision to approve locations of the proposed marijuana (drug) dispensaries. Seemingly it would have been appropriate to seek our community sentiment in regards to the 70 Southampton proposed location and whether or not residents affected were for or against it being in their neighborhood. It appears that the proposed Boylston Street location is “dead in the water” as the white retailers organized against the dispensary location in their area. The (drug) dispensary sponsor at that location, Good Chemistry realizing the dilemma they faced is exploring new sites as possibilities.
Here in Roxbury, MA a company known at the Green Heart Holistic Health & Pharmaceuticals would like to set up shop at the Southampton Street location. That is a nice, but misleading name, particularly the “holistic” part. The big question is what are the real implications for our community and neighborhoods??? The reality is that a “pot shop” would not be a positive addition and we in the Roxbury, MA Afrikan/Black community should strongly oppose the Southampton Street location. As per usual, we
are disrespected as we are being told where the (drug) dispensary will be located in our community with no consultation in regards to our feelings or opinions on this very serious matter. We as a community should give our unsolicited opinion that Green Heart with its convicted felon and president, Stephen R. DeAngelo, consider another location outside the boundaries of our neighborhoods and understand the marijuana (drug) dispensary is not welcome. Mr. DeAngelo should take his proposal for the “pot shop” to the Beacon Hill neighborhood and see how well it is received!!
Let us be clear in stating that we are sympathetic with those who are in need of marijuana for medical purposes. However, our Afrikan/Black communities are already besieged with illegal drug activity and an over-abundance of liquor stores. While we combat these issues, we do not need to add a potential new problem. We need to make an emphatic statement of “NO” to the Green Heart “pot shop” in the Roxbury community and need to make the Department of Health take notice and respect our position of opposition. Therefore, the Black Community Information Center is declaring Friday, March 21, 2014 as “No to a Marijuana Drug Shop in Roxbury Day!!” We are calling on Afrikan/Black communities to unite and join the effort to stop the “pot shop.” You are urged to call the office of Ms. Cheryl Bartlett, commissioner of the Department of Public Health and express your opposition to the proposed site. You can reach Ms. Bartlett at 617-624-6000 and ask for the office of the commissioner.
Sadiki Kambon, Director Black Community Information Center Inc. 617-427-2522 (office)