The Next Steps Are Clear After Barnstable Town Council Cannabis Workshop
Last night, the Barnstable Town Council held a workshop to kickoff their formal discussions around the regulation of recreational cannabis on Cape Cod. While no public comment was allowed, RCC co-founder, and 12th generation Cape Codder, Spencer Knowles was asked to be a panelist. He, along with Will Luzier of the Marijuana Public Policy Project, attempted to bring balance to the panel, which was weighted heavily against cannabis. While Prohibitionist District Attorney Michael O'Keefe advised the Council to "take the narrowest view possible", spewing very faulty, often-debunked data along the way, Spencer advised the Council to "do the opposite and keep an open mind" to what the future of the industry will look like.
With the intention of winning "Hearts & Minds", and providing an alternative law enforcement perspective, Spencer led with reading a letter from RCC member and retired Sandwich Police Detective, Robert J. Brun:
Dear Barnstable Councilors,
I’ve been a Cape Cod resident for 46 years. 32 of those, I spent as a Sandwich Police Detective, where I served as a school resource officer for 5 years and a court prosecutor for 9. During that time I managed the drug evidence, which resulted in hundreds of drug prosecutions.
I speak from experience when I tell you drugs are rampant on the Cape. I’ve personally seen opioids take hold of our communities and ruin lives. Street dealers are motivated only by money, so they often lace their products with substances that let them charge more, and get people addicted faster.
My biggest fear for cannabis, is someone acquiring it from these street dealers, and it’s laced with something that gets people addicted. This may not seem like a “mainstream” occurrence, but even once is too much. Cannabis isn’t killing people, opioids and other drugs are killing people. Hyannis and Yarmouth both have documented instances of street dealers lacing cannabis with fentanyl. I’ve seen this happen before with ecstasy, and I see it happening with cannabis now and it’s a BIG problem. I decided to retire after seeing my last suicide by opiods. I cherish life too much to have to see that on a daily basis.
With that said, our community finally has an opportunity to take real control. I’ve gone to Washington, I’ve gone to Colorado. One thing I don’t see -- a pot shop on every corner. There were plenty of facilities, but they weren’t just retail, there were all types. Our towns have all the control over “what and where”, so if you get out ahead of it, and want one or two storefronts, you can regulate it that way.
Please, Councilors, I implore you to take action here, and take cannabis away from these street dealers. Legalization is here, so in my opinion, we have the obligation to ensure citizens have a safe source. Regulate this in a way that benefits Barnstable, takes the control (and money) away from the street dealers, and invests back in our community.
You have the opportunity to control what you now don't control, and won’t control, if you don’t regulate it. The regulations give you the authority, and obligation to do what’s right. Don’t bury your head in the sand and think prohibition will protect our community. Educate yourself, then decide.
Detective Robert J. Brun, Ret.
In the end, the Council President Eric R. Steinhilber announced that he would be drafting an article to ban, and invited other councilors to draft an opposing article for healthy discussion in June. So our mission is clear -- help Barnstable take a smart & safe approach, and if necessary, block the ban!
What does this mean for Cape Cod?
It means we need to accelerate our efforts to ensure there is an industry hub for our region. If you're a stakeholder interested in bringing a smart and safe cannabis industry to our region PLEASE REACH OUT and let's see if we can work together.