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Would You Support Medical Marijuana Stores in Southington?

The Southington Planning and Zoning Commission’s Continuous Improvement Committee tonight will explore how to properly zone the production and distribution of medical marijuana.

The use of marijuana for legal medical treatment has passed through the state legislature, but some local residents are concerned that the new law could open up a world of trouble when it comes to preventing recreational use in town.

Now members of the Planning and Zoning Commission are attempting to do their part to try and help make sure any production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly regulated – and they are asking for help from the public in determining the best way to move forward.

Steve Kalkowski, chairman of the commission’s Continuous Improvement Committee, is asking residents to join him tonight at 7 p.m. in as the committee hosts a public input session into how to zone medical marijuana in Southington.

“It’s an effort to make sure everything is properly regulated in accordance with state law,” Kalkowski said.

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The legislature . The legalization has left some in the community concerned, however.

Director Sue Saucier is among those who have expressed concerns over how to regulate and told the Record-Journal that she is in favor of trying to keep any medical marijuana stores from being brought into Southington:

“If we can not have any dispensaries in Southington, that’s something I’d be in favor of,” Saucier said.

So where do you stand on medical marijuana? Was it the right decision to legalize? How would you like to see the town regulate the distribution? If a store must be allowed, where would you have it put?

Share your thoughts in our comments section below and let your voice be heard!

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Harold June 01, 2012 at 05:31 PM
The Feds will be waiting at the door to bust yah anyway.. but if it helps those in pain why not! Lets be adult about this and only adults should be able to receive it with a medical prescription.
Lucy June 01, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Drugs are not 'bussed' into high schools throughout the state of Connecticut from Hartford or any other major urban area, they are acquired and distributed by local residents. The problem of suburban drug abuse is a national epidemic. Lax regulations in other states have made it possible for 18+ year olds to pay for a plane ticket and a hotel room to obtain valid prescriptions which have 5 times the street value in Connecticut.
Ed Costello June 01, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Ok let’s not talk about run on sentences, punctuation, and comments that make no sense. Let’s talk about the legalization of marijuana. It is a bad idea. It is being done under the guise of being "medical". Give me a break. If you are sick and you want the benefits of marijuana, then ask your doctor for Marinol. It is a synthetic form of THC and the pill does not contain the 300 plus other chemicals in marijuana in its natural state. If you want to be a pot head, be a pot head. Take your chances. I don't care. Just don't try to have a rational conversation about the benefits of marijuana with me. I don’t buy the arguments. I don’t want to talk about alcohol either, like it or not it is legal. I don’t need to get real, I am real. Are you real Freda? Maybe you are real……………… stoned.
Kevin_Hunt June 02, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Let's talk about Marinol, Ed. Have you talked to anyone that has been prescribed Marinol for a serious medical condition? I have. The criticisms are always the same; doesn't work and too intoxicating. On to the peer reviewed evidence: "Patients prescribed Marinol frequently report that its psychoactive effects are far greater than those of natural cannabis. Marinol's adverse effects include: feeling "high," drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, changes in mood, muddled thinking, perceptual difficulties, coordination impairment, irritability, and depression.Cancer and HIV/AIDS patients often report that their stomachs cannot hold down Marinol capsules during bouts of severe nausea [49] and many rely on natural cannabis and cannabinoids for symptom control". [50] Sources: [49 National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine. 1999. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. p. 204.] [50 E. Woolridge et al. 2005. Cannabis use in HIV for pain and other medical symptoms. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 29: 358-67.]
Kevin_Hunt June 02, 2012 at 03:12 AM
75 years of failed marijuana prohibition has not reduced supply or demand. Give it up.
Arthur Cyr June 02, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Ed Costello - give it up. We are trying to discuss something using knowledge, facts and experience vs a generation that hasn't been there yet. You should have sat there Thursday night and listened to these 20-somethings state that having a medical marijuana dispensary in your neighborhood would NOT reduce our property values. Get serious. We already know that some doctors will write a prescription for almost anything. I don't have any problem with sick and/or terminal patients getting whatever they need, but every other state that has allowed this suddenly has much more production and dispensing of medical marijuana than it ever had patients.
Kevin_Hunt June 02, 2012 at 04:12 AM
The real reason Ed doesn't want to discuss a comparison our alcohol laws and marijuana laws is that he knows that alcohol kills 20,000 Americans each year due to physical effects and marijuana kills next to zero. Ed is not interested in citizens being treated equally under the law, or consistency in legislation, or the role of science in public policy. Ed has let it be known that he doesn't want "have a rational conversation about the benefits of marijuana". In short, Ed is not interested in a factual debate on the subject at all. OK, Ed, we get it. You don't like marijuana. You like to call people "stoners" and express your "opinions". I'm not impressed. The rest of us are living in the 21st century and you are stuck in the reefer madness days of the 1930's. Maybe you should hook up with Toni Boucher and the two of you can sit around and complain about marijuana together.
Ed Costello June 02, 2012 at 10:48 AM
I will give it up. I am done on the subject. But not before I say that I smoked allot of pot from the time I was 13 until I was about 20. I know all about drugs and alchohol. I am not 70 or 80 years old. I grew up in the 70's and 80's. Drugs and alchohol destroy lives. This issue is not really about medical marijuana use it is about the legalization of marijuana for all. That is the reason I will not compare it to alcohol, or debate one versus the other. As for Mr. Hunt...............so either of us is impressed. For every piece of negative info on Marinol I can find one about Marijuana. I can use Google also. There are thousands of drugs out there that if prescribed or used wrong will have negative effects. Turn off the computer Kevin, smoke a joint and relax, let the adults talk now.
Arthur Cyr June 02, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Another interesting point about this issue - This is about MEDICAL marijuana and people who want and need it for severe pain in the latter stages of illness. There may be a few of them in every town, maybe even dozens that have this need. BUT that doesn't mean we need to start growing and dispensing this in every town. And the majority of people who spoke Thursday evening in favor of allowing this seemed to simply want to decriminalization the use for many more people. We didn't need to hear about comparisons vs alcohol use or pill use.
Martin S June 02, 2012 at 11:56 AM
There is wisdom from on high from Arthur Cyr. Keep the psychotic drug addicts out your neighborhood by not having the friendly (and professional druggist) dispense this drug. Heck folks, next thing is Art won't want psychiatric drugs dispensed to keep all mentally ill people out of your neighborhood. I mean there might be one or two occasionally who could raise a ruckus as opposed to the many helped with medication. but let's do away with it, too. And, goodness sake, don't ever increase the problem by dispensing marijuana through a pharmacy because there may be those wicked pharmacists and doctors who dispense it for the wrong reason to a wrong people; you others, sorry, live and die in pain. We can't base our lives on what could go wrong with something dangerous but what benefits the vast majority. That mentality would not have us flying. And if you folks on psychiatric meds and those who could have an improved life with medical marijuana don't think getting it "on the street" or doing without is better, why not pass by Art's house and toot your horn to let him know what you think. Hey, it's a rainy day and he's got nothing else to do but take down you license number, get more facts and figures and complain. But he might just get an idea of how important this is do YOU. Ed Costello, you sure you gave up illegal smokin'? And, I'm gonna bet that you were in support of Sunday liquor sales.
Lucy June 02, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Cultivation, prescription and dispensing of medical marijuana is similar to the manufacture, prescription and dispensing of any other controlled substance. People have the right to post his or her comments on this forum regarding his or her views on this subject. These comments are moderated by The Patch. If someone objects to the tenor of this or any other discussion, I suggest he or she start their own blog, i.e. wordpress, blogger or blogspot, etc., rather than acting as a self appointed moderator asserting what people may or may not comment. It's rude, annoying and not his or her job.
Arthur Cyr June 02, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I went to the Thursday meeting and proudly stood on the same side as Pastor Vicky Triano and Youth Services Director Sue Saucier in expressing our concerns vs the people that said there was already a pot problem and drinking problems in Southington, etc. Sorry, the growing and smoking of marijuana is 1,000 times easier than the production of other controlled substances dispensed at pharmacies. Please note, I don't have a problem having a licensed pharmacist dispensing anything - it's those darn prescription happy doctors that I don't trust. And note that Ed Costello and Arthur Cyr have no problem posting our full actual names on this site. Patch.com only somewhat moderates these discussions, and many readers have noticed that its the one-name or no-name wonders that post nasty comments directed at other people not subjects. Either be nice or tell everybody who you really are.
Megan Heidenis June 02, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I would like to share my thoughts on why I am for a medical marijuana dispensary in Southington. I appreciate the concerns that people have regarding it's use, and the use of deadly substances such as alcohol and narcotic pills; however, I have a different point of view. My son is 5 years old, and has Dravet Syndrome (before you think I want to give him marijuana, know that for a child I am talking specifically about CBD--an extract of marijuana that does not contain TCH and does NOT cause a "high"). Dravet Syndrome is a rare and catastrophic epilepsy that causes uncontrollable seizures and a host of other cognitive impairments. Kids with Dravet have a propensity toward status epilepticus which is a seizure that doesn't stop without rescue meds--it can kill them. We have tried almost every anti-seizure med and every combo of meds available, to no avail. Imagine watching your child seize and seize and seize, and not being able to do anything to fix it. Due to his many seizure triggers we cannot do the things most of you probably take for granted, such as go outside on a nice day, or ever take a vacation. And it is not an overstatement to say that we have to worry with each seizure if it will be the one that takes him away from us. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to be helpful in controlling seizures for many of these kids that live in states where they are able to obtain it. I don't feel that it's fair to deny the chance of a better life to those who are ill.
Megan Heidenis June 02, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Would the town of Southington not have the ability to tightly regulate how much marijuana could be grown by those licensed to do so? And as I wrote in an email to the PZC, I don't see why a dispensary would have to look anything like a "head shop". If it is a place to dispense medicine, make it look like a place that dispenses medicine. I seriously doubt doctors in the state are suddenly going to start prescribing marijuana willy nilly to everyone who crosses their office threshold. And in regard to cancer patients and others being able to use other meds--of course they can! But if they don't work, or have nasty side effects, how is that a reasonable alternative for them? Quite honestly, given the incidence of death, addiction, and ruination of lives caused by alcohol and narcotic pain medicines, I can't for the life of me understand how they are legal. I'm not saying I aim to have those things outlawed, it is just baffling to me how those are legal and medical marijuana is being demonized.
Kevin_Hunt June 02, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Don't count on me to turn off the computer. By telling me to do so, you have encouraged me greatly. You stated before that you are not interested in a rational conversation; yet here we are having a rational conversation. I am not interested in "smoking a joint"; I am interested in debating the topic of failed prohibition. I would like to know why you feel that 75 years of prohibition has been effective at reducing supply and demand. Unlike you, I did not smoke pot in grade school, but I do know people that smoke pot now. I have yet to see any effects on these people that lead me to believe that marijuana should be illegal. The effects of alcohol are much worse, yet society condones it. I agree that this debate should be about legalization for all purposes. Please explain to me why non-drug hemp is classified as a schedule I substance; more dangerous than cocaine or meth (schedule II). I also would like to get your opinion on whether you think the war on marijuana is racist in its origins or current execution. As far as "letting the adults talk now", that statement is not relevant to the debate. Like you, I grew up in the 70's and 80's, and am probably about the same age. Your assertion that my ideas are juvenile don't hurt my feelings; nor will they discourage me from debating this subject. If you truly believe that alcohol and all drugs "destroy lives" then why aren't you advocating a total ban on alcohol and all drugs?
Kevin_Hunt June 02, 2012 at 03:27 PM
"We didn't need to hear about comparisons vs alcohol use or pill use." How are we supposed to determine if marijuana policy is consistent and fair if we don't compare it to other drugs? If you want to go by overdose numbers, marijuana is still at zero for all of human history.
Kevin_Hunt June 02, 2012 at 03:31 PM
"growing and smoking of marijuana is 1,000 times easier than the production of other controlled substances"... and the side effects are 1,000 times less than most pharmaceuticals. Got any Vioxx?
Kevin_Hunt June 02, 2012 at 03:34 PM
My heart goes out to you and your sick child. Don't let the haters like Ed keep you from using something that will save your child's life. "Rebecca Brown says she tried every prescription drug she could find to control the frequent seizures her son suffered because of a severe form of epilepsy. When nothing worked consistently, and the drugs and special diet caused kidney stones and pancreas problems as side effects, the Oakland County woman turned to medical marijuana. Now, Cooper Brown, 14, is one of 44 Michigan residents younger than 18 with a medical marijuana card. His mom says his seizures have dropped off dramatically since he started using it early this year." http://www.freep.com/article/20120527/NEWS15/205270523/Medical-marijuana-brings-relief-for-sick-kids-in-Michigan-but-the-treatment-is-controversial
Kevin_Hunt June 02, 2012 at 06:52 PM
"Ed Costello - give it up" Good advice. Arthur, I am willing to discuss this issue using knowledge, facts, and experience; plus science and numbers. I am over twice the age of your "20-somethings" and I would like to discuss how you arrive at your conclusions. Do you have any data regarding medical marijuana dispensaries and residential property values to share? You say "much more production and dispensing of medical marijuana than it ever had patients." Please clarify. Are you comparing number of transactions to number of patients in "every other state"? Are all other MMJ states equal in how much marijuana they dispense? Are you dividing the weight of marijuana sold by number of patients? Have you decided on a rate of marijuana consumption that would qualify as medical use? In order to quantify this assertion, you should post both numbers and units. Thanks.
Steve Kalkowski June 02, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Interesting dialogue here. For all those reading this, I can assure you that the P&Z Continuous Improvement Sub-Committee will take all the input we receive into account when we determine the proposed zoning regularions for the dispersement, production and consumption of medical marijuana. I welcome all feedback and recommendations and please e-mail them to me. For those of you that attended our Public Input session on Thursday evening, I want to Thank You for your time and invaluable feedback. Please ensure that you all keep an eye on when this will come before the P&Z Commission as a public hearing and that will be your opportunity to speak on this subject on the record. It will probably not make it on the June 19th agenda, so plan on our meeting in July.
Kevin_Hunt June 03, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Don't Increase Crime By CBS 4 News - Tuesday, September 14 2010 Medical marijuana dispensaries aren't attracting crime in Colorado Springs, the second Colorado city where police have concluded that pot shops don't increase crime. The Gazette newspaper reports that Colorado Springs police have yet to find a correlation between the city's 175 or so dispensaries and increased crime. Denver police made a similar conclusion earlier this year. The 41 criminal reports at marijuana businesses in Colorado Springs over 18 months compared to 797 robberies in businesses and houses in the same period. That rate isn't especially high compared to other businesses, police said. Police spokesman Sgt. Darrin Abbink said there's not enough data to suggest marijuana businesses are attracting crime. In January, police in Denver concluded that the projected robbery and burglary rate for storefront dispensaries in 2009 was on par with that of pharmacies. The analysis was the first time Denver police compared crime at dispensaries with that at other businesses.
Ed Costello June 03, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I am against the legalization of marijuana. Thats it. There is no debate. There is no rational dialog. I don't need to answer questions about it and I don't feel the need to ask any. It's bad for humans to use it. This quote from Mr. or is it Dr.?? Hunt says it all " I agree that this debate should be about legalization for all purposes" As I stated earlier, that is the real agenda of most of the people making noise. I beleive that if it is leagalized the use among young people will increase. I also beleive that the harm marijuana can cause to young people is unacceptable. Anyone on the fence about the issue try this link. (check out all the articles) http://www.neurology.org/content/59/9/1337.short There are hundreds of links on the subject. If they do not convince you, the next time you go to your primary care physican ask him or her if they think its a good idea if you and you kids make marijuana part of your every day life.
Megan Heidenis June 03, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Ed, If there is no rational dialog, are you saying that your argument is irrational? I don't think there's any question among most folks that any medication, legal or not, could cause impairment or undesired effects if not taken properly or as directed. For instance, someone who overdosed on Tylenol would die a pretty horrible death from acute liver failure if they took enough of it. And Tylenol can be purchased by anyone, even young adults. This discussion pertains to marijuana being used as a medication, prescribed by a doctor. I appreciate that the studies you looked up did conclude that daily heavy use of marijuana caused memory impairment, but so does the non-narcotic pain medicine called Lyrica, commonly used in people with fibromyalgia. So I don't find that a good reason to deny sick people a medication that could help them. If it was your child who was suffering, would you be so quick to slam the door on a new medical treatment? If, as a society, we did not periodically re-evaluate our practices and open up the possibility of new medical treatments, we would still be practicing blood letting and sawing people's legs off with just a "bullet and a bottle". Closing ourselves off from a meaningful discussion entirely can cause us to miss some pretty amazing opportunities for advancement.
Kevin_Hunt June 03, 2012 at 09:08 PM
"Thats it. There is no debate"? If so, why are you are debating it again, Ed? I had a feeling you'd be back. You know that you can't resist. You ask: "Mr. or is it Dr.??" Right now it is "Mr.", but come December it will be "Dr.". I checked out some of your studies, but am still not convinced that marijuana is more harmful than alcohol. We should either legalize marijuana or prohibit alcohol for the sake of fairness and legal consistency. If you believe that legalization will increase use rates among young people, then you obviously aren't aware that in Holland use rates among youth are 1/3 of what they are in the U.S. Holland, Spain, and Portugal have decriminalized marijuana for adults. In Peru it is legal for adults. Compare these adult use rates: U.S.=13.7%, Holland=5.4%, Spain=10.6%, Portugal=3.6%, Peru=0.2% (Source: UNODC World Drug Report 2011). Also, past month users in the U.S. have increased slightly from 5.8% in 1988 to 6.6% in 2009 (Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive), despite the war on drugs spending increasing from $9.7 billion in 1990 to $15 billion in 2010 (Source: ONDCP fact sheet 172873). Prohibition will never reduce marijuana use rates, period. You say that you "don't need to answer questions about it [marijuana]". My intent is that others will read these posts and make up their own minds based on the facts that I have provided. Thanks.
Kevin_Hunt June 03, 2012 at 09:50 PM
"the next time you go to your primary care physican ask him or her if they think its a good idea if you and you kids make marijuana part of your every day life." Three million kids are prescribed ADD drugs like Adderall (methamphetamine) by their primary care physicians. So meth is OK, but not marijuana? Personally, I hate meth and other ADD drugs, never have done them, never will do them; but they are legal. School administrators love the stuff because it brings up test scores. No little meth-head left behind. I wonder what your primary care physician would say about the effects of meth, Ed?
Ed Costello June 03, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Well since you are not convinced Mr./Dr. Hunt, that settles it. That is all you have to say about the health effects of marijuana use? You are intelligent enough to become a doctor and you are looking for fairness and legal consistency in America? Let me clue you in, life aint fair and it certainly isn't consistent. Your argument is that alcohol is dangerous but legal so we need to take steps to legalize a drug that is also dangerous to be fair to our citizens? I have to ask ..............what kind of doctor? Let me guess............Holistic? Let me guess again is it a Ph.D. The one thing you are correct about is that I am extremely unaware of what goes on in Holland, Spain, Portugal and Peru. The reason you are correct is that I do not care what goes on in those countries. Comparing the US to those countries is like comparing New York city to Mayberry. It doesn't work. I live here in the US where federal law states that Marijuana is illegal. I support those laws. I need to add that I hope that the patients that do need the effects of marijuana find an alternative that helps them cope daily with their illness and that terminal patients get what they need also, to make the end of their lives more comfortable. Legalization for all is not the answer in my opinion. You also should clarify the percentage of the fifteen billion that was used to battle the marijuana trade. The use of skewed data weakens your argument.
Kevin_Hunt June 03, 2012 at 11:17 PM
"you are looking for fairness and legal consistency in America?" Yes I am. It's incomprehensible to me that you are not; but you have already declared that you are not interested in rational dialog. The degree that I am working on is not a medical or "holistic" degree, but a PhD in Engineering. "Comparing the US to those countries is like comparing New York city to Mayberry. It doesn't work. " Show me a better case study in decriminalization/legalization. You hope that patients "find an alternative". Obviously you haven't read the science or case studies that show that marijuana works for ailments that conventional treatments don't work for. Why should you care about patients' suffering; since "life ain't fair"? Marijuana prohibition costs $7.7 billion annually Source: Dr. Jeffrey Miron (2005) The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition
Eric Burns June 04, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Some people should crawl out of the Stone Age and get at least some fraction of a clue. Marijauna has been used for thousands and thousands of years. Its been illegal for a few as well. Since being made illegal, 100% of people never touched it in the following decades. Oh wait, people will always want it. So people will always sell it. Why not tap into that revenue? Why not legitimize a trade that will ALWAYS be around no matter how much you don't like it. If you're so worried about children, how can you possibly think that it would be any easier for a kid to get something regulated at a state level, than it would be for him to get it on a level regulated by when his older sisters boyfriend gets out of school and can sell him a 20 bag. Something else for this Ed character. Hate to break it to you, but maybe if you turned the volume down on bill oreilly, you'd be able to realize that what happens in the rest of the world can affect us here in the States. Its 2012 man. Maybe you should put down the joint for a minute or two.
Kevin_Hunt June 04, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Eric, Speaking of Bill O'Reilly; I remember watching Bill O'Reilly debating marijuana legalization years ago. Even Bill admitted that he didn't have a problem with some guy minding his own business and smoking weed in his own basement. It's funny how once in a blue moon you run into a former marijuana user like Ed that is against legalizing it even for terminal cancer patients. Some of those types go on to be presidential candidates like Gingrinch or Santorum. Some of them make it all of the way to the White House.
Toots Shore June 04, 2012 at 09:58 AM
Well, I hope you don't plan to visit your own "darn prescription happy doctor" in the near future because the digital rectal exam's gonna kill yah. Doctors and the AMA will be happy to know that you consider them drug pushers and a hazard to helping those who are sick and need this medication.

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