Easthampton School Committee considers opposing legalized marijuana

Staff Writer
Published: 10/12/2016 4:20:24 AM

EASTHAMPTON — School Committee members Tuesday debated a proposal by Superintendent Nancy Follansbee to oppose ballot Question 4, which would legalize recreational marijuana, and suggested revisions in the resolution.

The resolution will be discussed again at the next School Committee meeting Oct. 25 after revisions are made by at least two board members addressing concerns on marketing targeted to youths. 

If the ballot question is approved, it could make marijuana more accessible and more attractive for youths, according to board member and teacher Cynthia Kwiecinski who opposes the measure. 

“I see it constantly,” Kwiecinski said about the effect of drugs on students. “Even coming to school after being high, their thought process is extremely impacted on daily basis.”

However, committee member Sarah Hunter said she favors the legalization of marijuana and referred to a large number of people incarcerated for nonviolent crimes.

Although Hunter said that decriminalizing the use of marijuana is a step in the right direction, Hunter said she also does not believe a person should be arrested for selling a substance that is legal to possess.

All the committee members, including Hunter, expressed concerns that marketing of marijuana in edible sweets can be appealing to children. Mayor Karen Cadieux said the sale of those kinds of products has been controversial in other states.

“I see the impact on daily basis,” Kwiecinski said. “It makes my blood boil to think that we’re going to be marketing attractive (marijuana) candy bars and cookies and gummy bears to kids.”

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at cashworth@gazettenet.com.

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