OPINION | Barry Richard: Blame Legislature for Delay in Weed Sales
The New Bedford City Council and the Mitchell Administration are finally on the same page concerning the retail sales of marijuana. That's a good thing.
While I agree that moving this ball forward has taken considerably longer than it should, or could have, patience is required at this point. Anyone who supported the voter initiative that legalized pot in Massachusetts should want to see the implementation done right. Therefore, a local moratorium until Fall makes sense.
The problem right now is not that local officials can’t figure out how or where to sell the stuff, although that could become problematic later on. The delay rests with the Commonwealth, which still cannot agree upon a basic set of guidelines that would allow implementation to go forward.
Which stores should be allowed to sell weed? Can you smoke weed at bars? Can it be sold anywhere, or should there be specially zoned areas for sales? These matters must be resolved before local officials can draft the ordinances to allow for retail sales here and elsewhere.
The lion's share of the responsibility for this mess lies with the Massachusetts Legislature. Lawmakers were too meek and cowardly to address the marijuana issue themselves, so they allowed an imperfect question to appear on the ballot. All of the outstanding matters that have caused this delay could have been worked out by the Legislature to allow for a smooth and quick roll out.
Those of you who are frustrated by all of the delays should remember your state representatives and senators when the election rolls around. Remember, it took them only two weeks to propose and approve a hefty pay raise for themselves.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.