NEWBURYPORT — Former state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives released a statement ahead of the election Tuesday voicing her support of a “yes” vote on the ballot’s Question 1.
Question 1 asks voters to decide whether to allow retail sales of adult-use marijuana. A “yes” vote would prohibit retail sales; a “no” vote would allow retail sales at up to two shops limited to an area of Storey Avenue and the Route 1 traffic circle.
In the statement, O’Connor Ives cited her experience with the state and municipal budget processes, as well as the drafting of marijuana laws, and called the state’s legalization of marijuana retail “an experiment and uncharted territory.”
“No one in the highest levels of government knows where this is going. I’ve been a witness,” O’Connor Ives said in the statement. “There’s a big difference between legalizing recreational marijuana for adults and inviting retail pot shops into a community that doesn’t need their revenue.”
To accompany the written statement, O’Connor Ives and Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Frank Cousins released a video via the Newburyport.com Facebook page in which they both expressed support of a “yes” vote on Question 1.
In the statement, O’Connor Ives said, “Don’t be duped with the tired argument of ‘potential revenue’ for our city, We’ve seen this movie before. Sound fiscal management and proven ways to strengthen quality of life are more prudent strategies for growing value in our community. I can also confirm that there are better ways to generate revenue for the city that don’t include pot shops. I’ve done it here in Newburyport and I’ve seen it implemented in communities across the commonwealth.”
In response to O’Connor Ives’ statement, Brianna Sullivan, vice chair for the Newburyport Cannabis Action Network, said while she respects the former senator, she “strongly disagrees” with her position on marijuana retail and emphasized that her group is encouraging residents to vote “no” on Question 1.
Sullivan added that she also disapproves of the “tactics used by the Newburyport Opt Out campaign,” which she said has put forward myths about marijuana retail businesses.
“This is a legal business, it’s heavily regulated, and it should ideally dilute the black market and bring revenue to the city,” Sullivan said.
“This has already been addressed. We’ve already voted in favor (of marijuana retail). It’s become a ‘not-in-my-backyard’ sort of thing.”
To see the video from O’Connor Ives and Cousins, visit: https://www.facebook.com/NewburyportVIP/?__tn__=%2CdkCH-R-R&eid=ARDH9hsJK_OwIjuqEIx_B9ExoNQeoItjZ6iwJnQO1NYBClNxG_co4uI8QpqfQk6SwRgVnsiIavWsAvn1&hc_ref=ARSEiD12C0K J4Y5NOetHMV6wND7_VhXQljmUtkzhjdx5Uw42o-V9xzvAOYzgYueh1R 4&fref=nf&hc_location=group.
Staff writer Jack Shea covers Newburyport City Hall. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.