Following up on the ridiculous “Cannabis is the devil’s weed” story from last week, Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) pushed back Tuesday on a pot firm’s plan to open a recreational weed store next to the city’s largest drug treatment facility.
Burnett, a former alcoholic, said the location proposed by Wheaton-based NuMed is simply “too close” to The Haymarket Center at 932 W. Washington.
“Ideally, I would like to have a perimeter of three city blocks that surround Haymarket. But I think it’s going to be very challenging,” said Lustig.
Asked if the litany of bars in the area that serve alcohol are also a concern, Lustig said: “I’ve always had concerns, but you can’t smell alcohol” like you can smell marijuana smoke.
But Burnett said because of the availability of booze, the other proposed pot shop locations aren’t as much of a concern to him as NuMed. The Fulton Market Association, a nonprofit focused on economic development in the area, is collecting signatures for a petition against NuMed that it plans to send to city officials Friday morning.
“We support that [patients] shouldn’t be faced with a marijuana shop right in their face and perhaps be enticed into a relapse,” said the group’s executive director Roger Romanelli.
(click here to continue reading Ald. Burnett says no to pot company’s plan to set up shop next to West Loop rehab center – Chicago Sun-Times.)
This irks me for all sorts of reasons. For one, for addicts, including alcoholics, being near bars and restaurants that serve alcohol is fine apparently, but an upscale cannabis dispensary being 1/4 mile away is a temptation they cannot resist? Really? Really?
Secondly, smoking is not permitted in dispensaries. Smoking cannabis is also not legal on the streets, though of course people have been smoking on the weed in public for decades or longer, including right in the doorway of this drug treatment facility. I can attest to this personally.
And if I were to get NIMBY1 with it, I’d rather this treatment facility was the one that moved. The clients2 often huddle in groups on the sidewalk, blocking passersby, chain smoking Newport cigarettes, blowing smoke on pedestrians. Why is this drug treatment facility located in the middle of a bustling entertainment district anyway? Haymarket Center has been there for a long time, and originally, this was not the same neighborhood as it is now. But neighborhoods change, and the West Loop has drastically changed over the last decade. The West Loop of 1975 is not the same as the West Loop of 2020.
Final thought, smoking cannabis is not a gateway drug to being a heroin addict, at least not according to modern research. The State of Illinois recognized this by granting medical cannabis licenses to opioid users, remember? Addicts need help, and consideration from the rest of us, but perhaps having the city’s largest treatment facility on 900 W. Washington is the real issue that should be addressed rather than NuMed opening an upscale storefront on Randolph Street.