Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell Charles: There are good arguments against dispensary – CapitalGazette.com


The marijuana debate is wide-ranging. Notwithstanding issues about quality of life, religious use, safety, location, etc., marijuana remains classified as an illegal substance on the federal level.

On April 6, I testified before the county’s administrative hearing officer and submitted letters from several Ward 3 pastors and from the Greater Parole Community Association’s Executive Leadership Team, as well as a six-page legal memorandum opposing a dispensary at 2029 West St. The Capital’s article on this (April 7) was balanced and the editorial (April 13) was a fair opinion.

My legal memorandum and the oral testimony proffered that:

•The proposed dispensary is close — 666 feet — to the Monarch Academy, which will have 600 to 800 students ages 5 to 11.

•Upper West Street is dangerous, a situation that has caused at least one fatality. Here’s an except from the Upper West Street Sector Study :

“Upper West Street has poor visual quality, is dominated by auto-oriented uses and is plagued with high volumes of traffic. It has a higher-than-average vehicle crash rate and is perceived as a dangerous area for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.”

Accidents, reported and unreported, occur daily. For years, requests have been made to the state to install a traffic signal at West Street and Gibralter Avenue — to date, to no avail.

•Although the record for our state and county is virtually silent regarding legislative intent when determining the location of marijuana dispensaries, several federal and U.S. Supreme Court cases indicate we can refer to the rules on the sale and dispensing of alcoholic beverages.

In that case, the lot line of such a business must be 1,000 feet from “a dwelling or residentially zoned property or a public school.” But this is for lines north of Route 50 and east of the South

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