Pubdate: Tue, 21 Sep 2010
Source: Morning Sentinel (Waterville, ME)
Copyright: 2010 MaineToday Media, Inc.
Author: John Woytowicz


As I read about the public discussion regarding the location of a
medical marijuana dispensary in Augusta, I would like to share a
perspective. A dispensary would contribute to the prosperity of any
small Maine town, and it could be a resource for the entire community
rather than one only for a designated population.

A variety of integrated health services could be offered, open to
everyone, and it could be a forum to foster a better understanding of
this issue. So, why not think beyond the norm, and welcome a small
business that will be integral to the community?

Restricting the location of a dispensary to a health-care zone is a
reasonable idea, but not essential. The public discussion to date has
not arrived at a resolution for many reasons.

Among the pressing concerns is that crime might increase in the
neighborhood. While this is feared, it is not reality. According to
the records department at the Waterville Police Department, there is
no more crime around Discovery House, a methadone clinic, than
anywhere else in town, and there have been no burglaries at the clinic.

As a family physician who has certified individuals for medical
marijuana since the inception of the first statue in 1999, I am
concerned that the opening will be unnecessarily delayed because we
are lost in the discussion.

A large majority of Mainers supported the referendum last November. It
is now time for a consensus. Let's pause and recognize how to proceed
with compassion and openness to a new idea. Whether on "Main Street"
or a health zone, a dispensary is an asset rather than a liability.

John Woytowicz, MD

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