Foxborough Police Chief Expects Medical Marijuana to ‘Escalate Criminal Activity and Dangerous Behavior’
Foxborough Police Chief Edward O'Leary says despite the recent approval of medical marijuana in Massachusetts he will not be an advocate for a medical marijuana facility coming to Foxborough.
Prior to November’s election, Foxborough Police Chief Edward O'Leary wrote a Letter to the Editor in the Foxboro Reporter as a citizen asking the town to join him in voting “No” on Question 3, which would "eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients.”
“In states that have allowed the creative fiction of ‘medical marijuana,’ there has been an increase of drug use by teenagers, and an escalation of violent crimes in neighborhoods with dispensing stations,” O’Leary wrote in his letter to the Reporter. … “People would be violating Federal Law, as marijuana is considered an illegal drug at that level. In states that have allowed the hoax, healthy individuals have been found with ‘marijuana cards,’ selling their ‘prescriptions’ on the street.”
O’Leary’s opinion proved to be the minority on Election Day as voters in the Commonwealth overwhelmingly approved Question 3. In Foxborough, 5,689 voters approved Question 3 while 3,737 opposed.
Despite those results, O’Leary remains opposed to the concept of medical marijuana.
“I don’t believe medical marijuana is a panacea,” O’Leary said. “The decriminalization process that was brought about by the ballot initiative in 2009 has led to an increase in the number of teenagers in our community that are now using marijuana. I think it has led to a growth in the overall use of marijuana within the Commonwealth.”
And the passing of Question 3 in the Commonwealth will only continue that growth, according to O’Leary.
“I perceive - based on what I’ve learned about the California situation - that there will be an escalation in both criminal activity and dangerous behaviors caused by this but it’s the law,” O’Leary said.
While O’Leary respects the law, he expressed no interest in seeing a medical marijuana facility open in Foxborough.
“I certainly would not be an advocate of one of the 35 licensed premises in our community,” O’Leary said. “Again, based on what I learned from looking at the California situation … I think it is more appropriate in other areas than Foxborough.”
As for what the newly passed law means for the town and its law enforcement? O’Leary said that remains to be seen.
“Too early to say,” he said.
On Tuesday, Foxborough’s Board of Selectmen discussed a request from neighboring Walpole to send a letter to the town’s legislative delegation seeking support to pass legislation that would delay the effective date of medical marijuana.
“Basically what Walpole is saying from the letter is they do not have time to look at it from a perspective of addressing it for zoning if a [medical marijuana] store comes in,” said Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis. “Where is it going to be located? How is it going to be controlled? They are asking us to support their request and send a letter to the state.”
Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos respectfully disagreed with Walpole’s request.
“Not to be critical of anyone but I think there is some concern about control of marijuana use and who would be at these clinics,” Paicos said. “I’m not sure that’s really founded because the Department of Public Health is putting out some stringent regulations about this obviously. In other states where it is allowed it is very tightly controlled for obvious reasons.”
Paicos admitted he wasn’t sure what the “fear is” with medical marijuana.
“Unless somebody can articulate something specific I think sending a letter saying don’t implement [the medical marijuana law] against the overwhelming will of the voters is kind of throwing it in the face of the voters,” Paicos said.
After a six-minute discussion, Foxborough’s Board of Selectmen agreed to take no action on Walpole’s request and will not ask the town's representatives to delay the implementation of the medical marijuana law.