Maceo Raker: A marijuana shop is bad for downtown

  • Business concept, working in office seb_ra

Published: 4/23/2020 2:29:42 PM

While walking past the old Sam’s Pizza in Northampton, I saw a sign announcing that another dispensary would be opening, this one on Main Street across from Pulaski Park.

This would make the streets more crowded, make other businesses lose money and create more dangerous conditions in the streets. If having a dispensary across from a child-filled park is OK, what’s next? More dispensaries, marijuana cafes, even plantations.

When NETA (New England Treatment Access) opened, a short walk from the proposed Main Street site, the line was never-ending, often with up to 500 people. Imagine this line on a sidewalk downtown. It’s also not stopping at Sam’s. According to the Gazette, 11 other marijuana-based shops from medical retailers to manufacturing facilities to independent testing labs have been proposed.

If we continue like this, the city will be overrun with marijuana. The smell will be pervasive downtown, and people who don’t like the smell would avoid going downtown, and businesses would lose customers. People will likely smoke in the park, turning off families who have come to enjoy the park.

With more people in line, the streets would become more dangerous. People will argue about congested sidewalks and fights may break out causing unnecessary injuries. Furthermore, we would see an increase in vandalism like the recent breaking of storefront windows.

Many of us have experienced the discomfort of stoned people smoking in the park and around town. This would increase that dramatically. Those in favor of marijuana shops may argue it would bring in more money for Northampton. And that’s probably true, but it would also take from the preexisting dispensary and from other businesses because the people offended may leave downtown Northampton.

I think opening another dispensary is a mistake. It may bring in money at first, but it may strip our city of its diverse businesses, as their customers choose to go elsewhere, and its beauty. Say you are the parent of a child and you want to utilize the downtown area including Pulaski Park. Now that park is filled with people smoking pot. Would you enjoy it as much as you used to?

maceo raker, 12


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