Councilors Renew Discussion of Medical Marijuana Facility in New Bedford
Two New Bedford City Councilors filed a motion to discuss the medical marijuana dispensary industry and its possible role in the city during Thursday's meeting, suggesting it can boost the local economy while also driving down opioid addiction.
Councilor-at-Large Ian Abreu and Ward 5 Councilor Kerry Winterson filed a motion inviting representatives from Beacon Compassion Services to discuss their business with the Council during an upcoming Committee on Labor & Industry meeting. A letter will also be sent to Mayor Jon Mitchell's office with an overview of the benefits from a dispensary.
Abreu said it is time for the city to "think outside the box" and get into the mix before losing out to neighboring communities.
"Wareham, Fairhaven, Dartmouth. All these other suburban cities and towns in and around New Bedford are already in the process of setting up dispensaries or marijuana cultivation facilities and all of these facilities are going to pop up and I feel that if we don't act and act soon and act now, New Bedford is going to miss out on the boat," Abreu said.
Representatives from Beacon were in attendance at Thursday's meeting and claimed their goal is to provide safer alternatives for pain management than highly addictive painkillers.
"A patient that has the need for medical marijuana has to travel fifteen, twenty, thirty miles to a dispensary yet they can go to probably twenty-five locations in the city to pick up opioids that are killing people across the board," said Steve Angelo, Executive Director of Beacon Compassion Services.
According to Angelo, opioid addiction in communities with a dispensary have dropped an average of 25%.
Beacon has also agreed to enter onto a Host Community Agreement with New Bedford in which a certain percentage of revenue generated would be infused back into local schools and economy.