Hector Cross

Nine years and 26 lawsuits later, the Cape Wind battle around the installation of wind turbines in Nantucket Sound has finally sailed to closure. It will be the country’s first offshore wind farm. Given how Mass Audubon supported it, opponents’ rant against its cosmetics proved childish at best. Poll after poll showed a majority in favor.

After that 26th lawsuit, the judge wrote, “There comes a point at which the right to litigate can become a vexatious abuse of the democratic process.”

Imagine the outcry from opponents: Let’s turn our backs to wind power. Those turbines are eye sores. Never mind that a cluster can power 2,000 homes. Some communities protest the sight of cell towers yet hate coping with dropped phone calls. Some cell towers are adorned like trees, making them more tolerable. Few would argue that the benefit of cellphone reception and carbon-free power outweighs the cost of a trivial eyesore. Just as WiFi is now assumed a public utility free to all, national healthcare too should be supported equally. Nobody should be denied access to healthcare and medicine.

Even if that medicine happens to be cannabinoids.

Recently a Brookline woman petitioned the attorney general’s office about the Federal’s 1000 foot buffer zone rule that’s applied to medical marijuana dispensaries. While no MMJ dispensaries have yet to open in MA, they must stand at least 500 feet away from schools and playgrounds. That’s the Massachusetts ruling which conflicts with the Fed’s.

About fifty yards from Marblehead High football goalposts stands a Richdale on Smith Street. There, colorful glass pipes, bubblers and bongs are sold to anyone 18 years or older. The brightly lit cabinet is quite the display of advocacy for would-be pot smokers. This will not be the case with MMJ dispensaries, the closet one to open on Grove Street in Salem.

Dispensaries are highly regulated and should be perceived as health clinics, not as stoner hang outs. Loitering is unlawful. Areas outside and inside will be secured by video cameras and full time security detail, alarms, and safes. This is not your typical retail outlet. Only state-registered patients 21 years or older carrying a valid medical license to possess cannabis will be allowed entry. Once inside, a second layer of ID registration is conducted. That’s not the only item that gets identified and logged. So does the plant. RFID tags will follow the medicine from seedling to laboratory testing to sale. These clinics will be discrete, non-profit (by law) businesses running software point of sale and inventory control systems with cloud-based storage, ensuring that dispensaries are in compliance, meeting regulatory mandates for monitoring and tracking. There is no reason to view these as a blight on society.

The public needs to be educated on the health benefits of this five-million year old miracle plant. For starters, the bioceutical cannabinoids derived from the leaves of industrial hemp contain .3 percent THC, an amount that imparts no psychotropic. Charlotte’s Web is a non-psychoactive strain that has had positive results for epileptic children. CNN and The New York Times reported how more than 100 families moved to Colorado just to get access to this strain. Newton-born Jordon Stroum told me he used cannabis to cure his Crohn’s Disease. CEO Mark Goldfogel of C4EverSystems used cannabis to treat his peritonitis. He said it “stopped nausea better than any pharmaceutical could.” Gaynell Rogers of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA publicly declared she used it to survive breast and later, colon cancer. United Patients Group lists 175 illnesses on its website that are treatable with cannabis.

Communities across New England should be welcoming these clinics with an open mind, tolerance and understanding.

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Hector Cross is a writer and blogger for 420PR Group.