Guest columnist Mariel E. Addis: Hidden in the attic

  • Marijuana File photo

Published: 8/10/2022 6:02:02 PM
Modified: 8/10/2022 5:58:47 PM

It was 10 or 12 years ago, I guess, before my separation from my wife. I was putting things away in this attic space in my house in Kennebunk, Maine. The space ran between my garage and the main body of our house, just above our kitchen. The only way to access the area was through my oldest, and high school aged at the time, son’s room.

We used the area primarily to store large items like luggage, air conditioners, rugs, and other sizeable items. One time, while I was in this space, I spied a small black case. When I opened it, I saw a pipe and other marijuana paraphernalia, obviously my son’s.

I was upset — perhaps more disappointed really, but not totally surprised. I didn’t freak out, but I did, however, promptly go and tell my wife about what I had found. I recall her having a similar reaction.

Cannabis was illegal in all states at the time, and my son, who was a good kid, would have certainly been underage if it had been legal at the time. Still, I realized that this was a “coming of age” thing, not something I ever did as a kid, but I recognized that a lot of kids try it and, even though illegal, a lot of people use and enjoy cannabis on a regular basis, it’s just not for me. Just the same, I felt like my son had lost a bit more of that childhood innocence that is hard for caring parents let go of. Now, what would have happened if I found a fifth of whiskey in the attic next to my son’s room? I suspect I’d be just as upset.

Cannabis is now legal in Massachusetts and vendors and prospective vendors have jumped on the pot shop bandwagon hoping to make some decent money. I was not around at the end of prohibition, but I suspect there was a similar exuberance among potential vendors although we all know the stories of the “speakeasies” that existed during prohibition.

Now it seems that the center of my little village is the prospective site of a new cannabis shop, right in the spot currently occupied by Pizza Factory and before that, by Rogers’ Bike shop. I remember all this because I have lived in Florence (or nearby Leeds) for 41 of my 57 years. To put it bluntly, I am not thrilled by this prospect, although I think legalization, decriminalization, and regulation of marijuana is a good thing overall — I just wish we new more about the long term affects on the body and mind of these new, stronger varieties. Like many things, time will tell.

Florence to me is a family place, a place where you can let your kids loose without having to worry about them. It has changed quite a bit since I was a kid in the late 60s and 70s, and actually, there is more community pride, than I have seen in many years. I see more kids and families with kids when I’m down there — and there are many community events.

Given the large number of cannabis shops in Northampton, I just don’t think we need another one here. I don’t what little kids walking by the shop to have to ask their parents, “what do they sell there?” or “can we go in there?” I’d feel the same about the two liquor stores in Florence, although one contains a small market and deli. I know when I was a kid, I was scared to walk by The Moscow, a bar a few doors down from the corner on Main Street, probably all but forgotten my many folks today. An odd cubist painting, possibly a Picasso, was visible from the sidewalk — it always freaked me out!

I don’t think the short drive to Northampton to buy cannabis is a big imposition. I used to be able to buy shoes and jeans at West’s Clothing Store, hamburg at Everybody’s Market, sewing notions at Mel-An’s, and delicious apple fritters at the Model Bake Shop. Why can’t we have more businesses like this in Florence?

Mariel Addis is a native of Florence. She left the area for 16 years but returned in 2013.


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