This article is the first in a series examining the impact of possibly having a marijuana dispensary in the town of Somers. Over the next few months, we’ll publish articles, release a podcast and host a community forum on Zoom around this topic.
Edward Abrahams understands why residents may be opposed to having a marijuana dispensary in the town of Somers, which has until Dec. 31 to opt out of permitting such an enterprise under a state law passed last month legalizing recreational marijuana.
Under the law, municipalities can decide for themselves whether to allow local pot shops. If a town opts out, it would lose out on the tax benefits that this new industry would generate.
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Abrahams can speak with authority on the topic. As vice chair of the Selectboard—the governing body—in Great Barrington, Mass., he understands the mixed messages that Somers leaders could be sending to the children in town.
“I spent many years trying to keep [my daughters] from smoking pot,” Abrahams said in a phone interview last week. “The irony wasn’t lost on me, or the hypocrisy on my daughters… The biggest legitimate fear is that normalizing pot use sends a message to children that it’s OK. As of now, there’s no evidence either way.”
But Abrahams, who feels that bars serving alcohol probably create more of a negative impact on his community, also had a vision for his town of 7,000 people when Massachusetts legalized recreational weed.
“When that happened, I wanted to be first,” he said. “It was a $3 million good idea… First thing we had to do was come up with