David Falquette, Mansfield City Council, Comments after Cannabis Vote

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Tuesday, was the big vote for Mansfield to embrace commercial sale of a controlled substance or embrace the many citizens and groups who are against legal availability.

I have personally struggled with the decision. Personally, I am fundamentally against the use but strongly support the voter’s acceptance and desire in the city of Mansfield and the state. I realize many of my conservative supporters have a view to not allow commercial or even medical sale. They feel selling in the open with a brick and mortar store front will make it too available and the other side wanting legal access whether using it for relief from symptoms or just to relax.

I feel strongly that the voters have spoken and I need to support their decision. The following points have been made for and against retail sale. I include my thoughts in coming to a decision.

· Further, the City having what I believe is the largest turnover of elected and appointed officials ever (From November ’23 to March ‘24) delayed having a moratorium that should/could be expiring June 30.

· Gateway drug – While there is likely a strong case that users of hard drugs (i.e. cocaine, X, methamphetamines) started with marijuana. I do not believe using marijuana was the cause as I believe thousands more marijuana users never advance to stronger drugs throughout their lifetime.

· Children will have access. Not from a legal retail store. However, adults will continue to bear the responsibility to keep children safe. Anyone contributing to the delinquency of a minor should be held accountable with the laws already in place.

· Employers will have fewer employees to chose from. We already have adults who are not hired due to drug and alcohol use/abuse. Further, those companies have rules to terminate employees for abuse. Marijuana is here and I don’t see or believe there is going to be a massive group of first-time users lined up the first day a store opens. If your company has users it started before now and if they are not users I doubt they will become one without a major life changing event.

· NIMBY (not in my backyard) – The State, the legislation passed by the voters last November already has a number of rules to keep the stores out of certain areas. The City has and can still create Zoning ordinances to control location and quantity of stores. Stores will not be in residential areas.

· Our decision tonight was time sensitive due to the limited number of stores permitted each round. For the most part the medical facilities and growers have first round pick of approximately 140 new stores effectively doubling the number in the state. About 280 by the end of 2024. The perceived advantage of these stores are the companies are established and operating within the mandated guidelines. The next round (about 18 months/December ’25) is expected to be approximately 50 locations by ‘disadvantaged” individuals who may have a higher risk of issues due to limited experience or funding. The last round in two to three years approximately 100 to 200 stores that will target areas lacking access to Marijuana. While permanent moratoriums will likely prevent establishment there is always a chance State and Federal laws will change.

· A marijuana store is not family friendly. No community wants to be viewed as a haven for illicit activities. I do not believe a retail marijuana store is going to contribute to worsening Mansfield’s perception in the area. I remain committed to making Mansfield better.

The tax revenue is not going to offset the cost of problems caused by marijuana. First, we already have problems associated with marijuana and the marijuana if not purchased locally thereby contributing to the tax base then it will be imported from other areas without the tax revenue. Again, the marijuana is already here. Perceived “Problems” may be a combination of all drug use and abuse in the area not just marijuana.

I know as I write this some people will be upset or surprised by my decision for our community but I accept my responsibility to make the best decision based on the facts and constituent attitudes.

Thank you,

David Falquette

Council at Large

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