Concerned Walpole residents voiced their opposition to having a medical marijuana dispensary in town at the Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday night.
Selectmen hosted a discussion on the issue to get feedback from residents to help them determine whether zoning bylaws should be put in place to ban dispensaries in Walpole. Three residents gave their thoughts.
Silvio Stumpo, a 35 year resident of Walpole said he is disgusted at the idea of a dispensary in town.
“We have three daughters. One is living in this town and is a married mother of two, a five-year-old and a two-year-old, and just the thought of them being exposed to it, medical or otherwise, really disturbs me a great deal. Whether it’s in the center of town or in a neighborhood,” Stumpo said.
“I understand that it is medical, at least this is what we’re told. But if we do get one of these in town or several of them, to think that this is not going to be in the hands of teenagers or other potential addicts, and with all due respect to our police, with all the problems we have today in this town I think we’re asking for big, big trouble,” he said.
Resident Michelle Alexander said she was opposed to a dispensary as well and would like to see funds allocated for law enforcement and schools for more drug education.
“I have two boys, one in seventh grade and one fifth grade, so I think I’m looking at it from a different perspective in terms of what it means to my children,” said Alexander.
“I think there’s a lot more we’ll have to do in that front when it comes to the kids. Because inevitably it’s going to end up in their hands,” she said.
Susan Masterson said she is concerned about how safe it would be to have a dispensary in town.
“I think of security. I would no more work in one of those dispensaries as nothing is in [the law] about whether you’d have a policeman or security. And if that isn’t written in there that would mean the town of Walpole would need to be responsible," Masterson said.
A recent survey issued by the Board of Health on the town's website showed 65.8-percent of those who responded said they would be for a dispensary in town.
As of Jan. 22 there were 553 responses to the survey. 366 votes for 'yes' and 190 votes for 'no'. 46.7-percent of those who took the survey said they would support a dispensary in the downtown area.
No one during the discussion at the selectmen meeting said they would be in favor of having dispensary in Walpole.
“I hate to think that we could walk down Main Street and walk by a dispensary,” said Stumpo. “The idea of someone walking out of a dispensary smoking a joint is totally disgusting.”
In the November elections, Massachusetts voted to approve Question 3 which legalized medical marijuana on the state level. Walpole also voted to approve the ballot question on election day with 7,492 votes for 'Yes' and 6,164 votes for 'No'.