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Council President Wants to Prevent Medical Marijuana Dispensaries from Opening in Watertown

Mark Sideris said he plans to pursue ways to stop a distribution facility opening in town following the passage of Question 3 on Nov. 6.

The idea of a medical marijuana dispensary coming to Watertown is not somethings Town Council President Mark Sideris wants to see, and he plans to seek a way to prevent that from happening at a future Town Council meeting.

On Nov. 6, Massachusetts voters approved Question 9, the ballot question allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes as prescribed by a doctor, by a 63 to 37 percent margin. With the approval comes the creation of marijuana dispensaries—"non-profit treatment centers that will grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers," according to the Secretary of State.

Cities and towns are left to set regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. Sideris said he has concerns.

"I'd be opposed to any marijuana distribution facility in Watertown," Sideris said. "I'm from the old school."

There are already state regulations built into Question 3, which require the dispensaries to apply and pay for a Department of Public Health registration, as well as submit operating procedures, including the mandatory storage of marijuana in locked facilities.

Communities will also need to set local regulations for dispensaries.

Sideris said he is not sure how far town officials can go to prevent a dispensary from opening in Watertown. He plans to consult with Town Attorney Mark Reich to see what steps can be taken, and to talk to Police Chief Edward Deveau about what concerns the Police Department may have about having a marijuana dispensary in town.

In general, Sideris said he has mixed feelings about how to handle the marijuana issue.

"I am torn between making it legal, and tax it and make revenue off it, and on the other hand, are we opening up a problem like drinking and driving, but with smoking and driving," Sideris said.

While the question makes marijuana legal only for medical use, Sideris said he worries that others will also find a way to take advantage of the system. 

"It is making it more easily accessible for others for non-medical use," Sideris said. 

knowa November 19, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Please sign the White House petition to let Marc Emery complete his sentence in Canada http://wh.gov/XXp9
Jillian Galloway November 19, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Alcohol is significantly more harmful and more addictive than marijuana, while the prohibition on marijuana fuels criminal activity and funds organized crime. We need to contact our legislators and tell them to legalize marijuana like beer and wine.
Julie Greene November 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM
So what do you do, close down the package stores, too? Driving and owning a car are responsibilities, not privileges. That's why there are legal documents such as licenses for this, and these can and should be taken away from folks that do not or cannot act responsibly behind the wheel. It has nothing to do with the location at which any substance that may alter driving ability is dispensed. We have a few pharmacies here in Watertown, too, such as CVS and the pharmacy at Target. Should these be closed down? I don't think so. I don't think the presence of a marijuana dispensary is going to corrupt the town. So far, package stores, bars, and restaurants that serve booze have not. In fact, many of these restaurants have fine food and attract business to the town.
Marc November 19, 2012 at 01:14 PM
We are worried about something fairly harmless as compared to the health risks from: The waitress at The New Yorker Diner wiping down the counter with a dirty rag then hand buttering the toast and touching glassware etc. with that same dirty hand or the cook using his hands to touch food after touching his face. I contacted the watertown health department inspector, but they cannot inspect the place when the diner is busy at night because they don't work late he tells me...PATHETIC!
FlyingTooLow November 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
With all of the rhetoric surrounding the marijuana debate, the concept most overlooked: Freedom of the individual. “…over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign”.” — from the essay On Liberty by John Stuart Mill What happened to, "This is a FREE country"? That is what we have been telling the rest of the world for decades. Please, let us live up to it. Lead by example. After spending 5 years in Federal Prison for a marijuana offense, I wrote: Shoulda Robbed a Bank No, it is not a treatise on disproportionate sentences. I wrote about the escapades that led to my incarceration. I admit, I had a great time. No one was injured, no one was killed, firearms were not involved...there were no victims. We were Americans pursuing happiness in our own way. Harming no one...nor their property. That’s my contribution to helping point out just how ludicrous our pot laws truly are. I would be honored by your review.
FlyingTooLow November 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
All card-carrying members of the DEA need to read: Shoulda Robbed a Bank Here is one of its reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars... If David Sedaris had written 'Catcher in the Rye'..this would be it, June 30, 2012 Amazon Verified Purchase This review is from: Shoulda Robbed a Bank (Kindle Edition) I have never smoked pot in my life...nor do I ever care to. I read about this book in numerous Huffington Post comments. Thought I would read it because I know nothing about marijuana or the people involved with it. I am ecstatic that I did. Funny, Funny, Funny!!! The chapters are like short stories. Stories about unloading boats with helicopters, close encounters with law enforcement, traveling through the jungles of South America. The chapter about the author's first time smoking marijuana made me feel like I was with him...coughing. All of the characters were just a group of loveable, nice guys and girls. Not what I had been raised to believe...hysterical maniacs high on pot bent on death and mayhem. They were nothing like that. If you have ever read any of David Sedaris' books, and like them...you will love Shoulda Robbed a Bank. And the crazy things happening reminded me of Holden Caufield in 'Catcher in the Rye' and the way he staggered through life. The way the words are put together are like nothing I have ever heard. I am sure I will use many of the sayings found in this book just to dazzle my friends. A terrific read. I love this book.
William Lingquist November 19, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Personally I think this law is foolish and should have never been on the ballot. But having said that..... What did the voters of Watertown say? Majority for or majority against? If the majority was for the law ( which I doubt) then Sideris should mind his own business and stop using his position as a minor politician in a small town to force his personal edict on the will of the people he supposedly represents. If this is the way it is, then why do we vote at all?
Gary M November 19, 2012 at 04:42 PM
William, Watertown voted 69% in favor of medical marijuana.
Tom November 19, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Dear Mr. Mark Sideris, As an elected official you should respect the democratic process. Almost 69% of us Watertownies voted YES for medical marijuana with the full knowledge that a dispensary could end up in our town. Please do not try to undermine the will of the voters. And police chief Deveau should stick to police issues since this is now LEGAL in Massachusetts. Why don't you try shutting down all the liquor stores and bars in town since alchohol is much more dangerous to individuals and society than weed. Oh ya, they tried that once, it was called prohibition and it didn't work just like the drug war has been a complete unmitigated disaster. You are obviously stressed Mark. Maybe you should ask your doctor for a note so you can get some medical herb to calm yourself down!
Charlie Breitrose (Editor) November 19, 2012 at 05:12 PM
A lot of pro-marijuana dispensary comments. Anyone agree with Mark Sideris that the town should prevent one from coming to Watetown?
KAB November 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I absolutely agree with Mr Sideris. I think pot stores in town would bring down property values. That alone is enough reason to keep them out. If pot stores start littering the town, many residents will be outta here. Look at what is happening in Colorado.
KAB November 19, 2012 at 08:50 PM
That's true but still I think it is Marks responsibility to maintain the towns character. We have zoning laws in place to maintain neighborhoods' character-this isn't much different. Despite how the vote went I don't think most residents will be super happy to have pot shops in town. But we will see.
Joey Ismail November 19, 2012 at 09:54 PM
So what the other option? People who need it need to get it. If there is t a dispensary, the patients will be growing it in their homes and back yards. Sounds like an ignorant point of view frankly. Bars pose ten times the threat, then places are glorified garden ridge factories. They sell nontoxic plant life, hardly anything to worry about.
KAB November 19, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Joey, I'm just expressing my opinion as a Lifelong resident. Unfortunately it seems that when you express a differing viewpoint, people respond with rudeness and insults. I'm just trying to point out that each town has the right to decide whether or not to allow certain types of establishments...this may be one that Watertown residents don't want.
Gustavo Picciuto November 19, 2012 at 10:31 PM
The people of Watetown voted largely in favor of the bill. There shouldn't be any more questions or discussions pertaining to IF a dispensary is welcome in the town. When the majority of people vote in favor of something the elected officials should follow the will of the voters , not themselves. It is NOT up to Mr.Sideris if there should be or not dispensaries , the people already voted and said YES. If they want to ban them , let them run a petition and gather signatures to ban them but as for now follow the will of the people who have ALREADY spoken and follow the law that is on the books that was approved by YOUR people. It is cowardly and selfish yo do what these officials are doing in spite of the over whelming vote in favor.
Paul Hurteau November 19, 2012 at 11:13 PM
It's about time!
Paul Hurteau November 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM
BRAVO!!!
Paul Hurteau November 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM
EXACTLY!!!
Paul Hurteau November 19, 2012 at 11:16 PM
You are my hero,,, Loved the book,,, Hope I meet you one day.
Paul Hurteau November 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM
"this may be one that Watertown residents don't want" So how do they feel about liquor stores?? Do they have a vote on that?
Gustavo Picciuto November 19, 2012 at 11:37 PM
So basically people voted for nothing because regardless of their vote these officials will do anything they please. The town voted 69% in favor; meaning they already said they DO want a dispensary in town. The people have spoken and it's time for Mr. Sideris to put on his big boy pants and do what HIS voters asked him to do. It is cowardly and selfish to do what Mr.Sideris wants to do.
Gustavo Picciuto November 19, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Didn't they already say what they want when they voted??? Or do you think that everyone who voted for this law is stupid enough that they don't know that a dispensary will be coming to their town if they vote yes?? The people have voted and said what they want already, why can't people respect that and just follow the will of the people. Have some courage towards progress and follow the will of the people. This is why we don't have any faith in the people who lead us; because regardless of what the people want they will always follow their own agenda.
Gary M November 20, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Charlie, Click on pro-marijuana dispensary comments names - Knowa, Jillian, Julie, Gustavo, Paul, Joey - they aren't from Watertown - you'll find them all registered in Calif, NJ, NC, etc.. They are spamming all the local Mass sites. All their comments are related to this same topic. That said, I think you'll find alot of people now wishing they hadn't voted for this bill if they had realized a dispensary was coming to town.
FlyingTooLow November 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Paul Hurteau.... A million thanks...so very happy to hear you enjoyed the book. I hope you visit my blog...I respond to any and all comments. It would be great to meet you, too. You can never have too many friends. Again, thank you, Paul Hurteau.... Hugh Yonn
danielle November 21, 2012 at 07:45 AM
First people already drive and smoke, that isn't going to increase more people now may get caught. The medical law that was approved states that there is only 35 allowed and only so many per county. If there isn't a dispenserary in Watertown it won't stop patients from getting there prescription filled. The people voted for this!
Jim Sullivan November 27, 2012 at 04:53 PM
The majority were for the law. It's public record. Look it up.

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