Letter: Hypocrisy over cannabis vs. alcohol is striking

Posted 6/16/22

To the editor:How ironic. The two front-page articles in the Bristol Phoenix (June 9, 2022) celebrate the opening of a fourth brewery in town while describing cherry picked opposition to recreational …

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Letter: Hypocrisy over cannabis vs. alcohol is striking

Posted

To the editor:

How ironic. The two front-page articles in the Bristol Phoenix (June 9, 2022) celebrate the opening of a fourth brewery in town while describing cherry picked opposition to recreational marijuana dispensaries.

The primary opposition to dispensaries in town, as expressed by council Chairman Nathan Calouro and Police Chief Kevin Lynch, appears to be concern about the impact on impaired driving. Lynch suggested that motor vehicle accidents and fatalities will increase as a result of the new legislation, although not a lot is known about driving while high or the impact on automobile accidents. Nevertheless, Calouro pontificates that the state, in legalizing recreational marijuana, decided that tax revenues were “more important than human life.”

On the other hand, we know exactly what alcohol does. We know that driving drunk causes impaired driving, resulting in injuries and death. Although Rhode Island has among the fewest alcohol-related driving fatalities each year (not surprising, given our size), we have among the highest percentage of alcohol related motor vehicle deaths. That is, approximately 42 percent of Rhode Island road deaths are caused by drunk driving, behind only four other states (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Yet not a peep about opening breweries and bars in town.

Our point is not to oppose the new brewery, or any other. It is to point out the hypocrisy displayed in black and white on the front page of the Phoenix. We know how to prevent and punish drunk driving. We can apply the same knowledge and rules to impaired driving, if and when it occurs.

Rejecting dispensaries in Bristol, when every surrounding town permits them, is obviously not the solution. Working to prevent all impaired driving is the solution — one that has nothing to do with whether marijuana is legally sold in town.

Bristol, get your head out of the sand. Marijuana, at least, is known to relieve a variety of medical problems. And the dispensaries can generate significant tax revenue for Bristol — income that will otherwise go to our neighbors to the north and south.

So, let’s not clutch our pearls and say “oh no! — not in our town!” while continuing to celebrate the opening of bars and breweries. We believe there is a place for breweries and dispensaries in town.

Annie Silvia
75 Maple Lane

Beth Vorro
78 Windward Lane

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.