Dorchester could be home to the city’s next medical marijuana dispensary, and unless there’s some compelling reason against the prospect that we have not yet heard, it should be.
A Colorado-based company hopes to open a facility at 50 Clapp Street — that’s just next to South Bay in the Polish Triangle. Neighbors met with the proponents— a company called Natural Selections— during a pair of meetings earlier this month. The dispensary would operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. - seven days a week. And they say they will meet a market need: according to the company, there are more than 2,600 active medical marijuana cardholders within a 3-mile radius of the site. That number is expected to jump to more than 7,500 over the next four years.
Some neighbors raised concerns at a meeting held at the nearby Plumbers Union hall. About 40 people were on hand. A few people pointed out that a school— Boston Collegiate Charter — is nearby. (The school says that they want more time to hear about the company’s business plan before making a decision.)
The operators have said they will agree to set a minimum purchase price of $50. They also said they are open to a moratorium on seeking expansion into recreational marijuana until 2020.
City Councillor Frank Baker noted that three other medical marijuana businesses have already looked at the same Clapp Street site. Baker worries that a less reputable operator might eventually take control of the property.
There was no vote taken on the matter at the meeting, but should it come to one soon, we hope this proposal will move forward. There is a lingering, built-in bias against cannabis users that is often conflated with illicit drug use. It’s an unfair comparison.
This is a legitimate company with a strong track record of performance and a solid leadership team that has taken pains to make its case for the Dorchester location before seeking any official approval. That sort of best practice model should be rewarded.
Low turnout sullies election
Mayor Martin Walsh exceeded expectations on Tuesday when he cruised to a 33-point triumph over Tito Jackson in the preliminary election. It was a dominant performance.
But the election itself was marred by a pathetic voter turnout. Only 14.4 percent of the city’s registered voters showed up to the polls on Tuesday. That’s shameful.
It is true that there was no at-large council contest— a dynamic that likely would have bumped up the interest a notch. And large parts of Dorchester and Mattapan had no district council run-offs, either. With the exception of parts of Uphams Corner, Dudley Triangle and Grove Hall— that are in District 7— most of our neighborhood has no council decisions to make this week.
But, there was a mayoral election— and the lack of interest and engagement in this major decision is troubling. The city did not offer early voting opportunities as it did in last year’s presidential election. Early voting should be an option every cycle, in our view. Perhaps it’s also time for the state to move toward weekend balloting— over a Friday, Saturday, Sunday— to allow for extra time to get to the polls.
There were several individual winners of Tuesday’s election— and we congratulate those whose candidates could declare victory. But, everyone loses when a city that prides itself on a long history of civic vibrancy wakes up to find that barely two out of ten of us care enough to pick our city’s leader.