Would You Support a Recreational Marijuana Store on Fayette Street?

While Conshohocken’s Borough Council recently chose not to take action on a medical marijuana ordinance, several other municipalities have chosen to zone for marijuana growing businesses and/or dispensaries. Until this recent article on Philly.com, we haven’t read about any major opposition or even people actually asking questions about what could be the eventuality of allowing medical marijuana. From the article:

“Will pot be legal in Pennsylvania someday soon?” Brendan McPhillips, a real estate professional and father of two girls, asked Flyers sports-empire scion Lindy Snider, who a month earlier had received the blessings of other neighbors in the same Northeast Philadelphia church hall for plans to possibly build a medical-marijuana facility in their neighborhood, near the Bucks County border.

“Yes,” interjected a neighbor at the monthly meeting of Parkwood Civic Association, where Snider’s plans also came up for discussion at a previous meeting.

 “Yes,” said another.

“Probably,” added a third.

“If you owned it the day pot becomes legal in Pennsylvania, would you say, ‘I’d like to sell it from here?’ ” McPhillips again asked Snider, suggesting a future operator might want to increase profits by adding a smoking lounge and retail shop near the rowhouse enclave.

 “It’s not going to happen on my watch,” Snider replied.

As the full article details, residents weren’t so much concerned about medical marijuana, but are very concerned about the potential that recreational marijuana will be legalized and the dispensaries and grow facilities could become sales locations.

Should they be concerned? Remember back when Pennsylvania was going through the process of allowing casinos and they were only supposed to be slot parlors? The casinos were approved and table games were added shortly after. Everyone involved in the process was lying. Slots-only was an easier sell. Once approved, they added table games. Then Governor Rendell went from “willing to consider” signing a law that allowed table games in June of 2009  to threatening to fire 1,000 state workers if tables games weren’t approved in December of 2009.

Is the same going to be true for marijuana? State Senator Daylin Leach (D), who represents neighboring communities to Conshohocken, has said as much. Leach was a main proponent of the recent legalization of medical marijuana and supports the legalization of recreational marijuana. Leach proposed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in 2015. The bill didn’t become law, but here is how he presented the process:

“I imagine the focus will be on medical this year,” Leach said. “It’s sort of an easier lift for some people, and in some peoples’ lives, more urgent. There are sick people who need their medicine.”

Boy, doesn’t that sound like… don’t worry folks, its just slots.

To be fair to Leach, he wants the state’s wine and liquor stores to sell recreational marijuana. But there is a chance those won’t be around by the time recreational marijuana is legalized (if it ever is). What will be in place, when, and if, it is legalized, is an existing network of operating grow facilities and retail locations already in the medical marijuana business. It isn’t a leap to say these will be permitted to move into the recreational side of the business.

We believe that most people would not object to a medical marijuana dispensary in their community. Would there be the same level of support if it could eventually lead to a recreational marijuana being sold there?

Let us know what you think in the comments.