Sutton’s Proposed Pot Shop

To the Editor:

The May 8 C-R contained an article about a proposed marijuana retail store in Sutton. The proposer touted it as being strictly for “recreational” pot sales in a “wholesome” town; with Sutton being able to “benefit” financially from the store’s tax revenue and alleged job creation.

I’d like to ask that my fellow Suttonites and our town officials very carefully consider the potential drawbacks/liabilities of such an establishment.

It is common knowledge that marijuana is a drug; a drug that impairs cognitive abilities, and that most people don’t begin their drug use habits with the hard-core stuff. As with other drugs including alcohol, marijuana has addictive properties and is often used/abused for escapism: escape from reality, stress, low-self esteem, etc. If you doubt that northern New England in general and Caledonia County in particular already has a major drug problem, you simply haven’t been paying attention.

I wish you could have been walking with me on the days I found one dozen used hypodermic needles carelessly tossed to the side of the Sheffield Road, and when I discovered the tablespoon with scorch marks on the bottom of its bowl thrown out on the Wheelock Road. These items were each found within sight (or nearly so) of the Sutton Baptist church/parsonage.

Let’s not forget that some of our neighbors’ homes have been broken into by people searching for prescription drugs to steal, or items that can be quickly converted to cash to buy more drugs.

I’d invite you to listen to a police, rescue squad, or firefighter scanner/radio for several hours every day for one month. Tally the number of times these first responders are called to help at another overdose scene. It’s particularly frustrating to be listening as one of your very own friends is fighting to revive yet another unresponsive, non-breathing drug overdose victim.

Instead of being so quick to ask the business owner “Where do we sign?!, our very first questions to him should be: 1.) What percentage of the revenue obtained by the town from your pot shop would be offset by the increased expenses to the town’s rescue squad/law enforcement/firefighters’ budget? 2.) What would the long-term human cost amount to, in terms of creating and enabling future drug users? 3.) Are you willing to also purchase the long-deserted King George School and turn it into a drug treatment center?

If someone is in need of an escape from stress, there are far more “wholesome” avenues of “recreation” from which to choose than ingesting drugs. Try reading a book, watching a movie, or just “Get outside and get the stink off ya!” as my late father used to advise.

Just how willing are we to sell Sutton’s “wholesome” soul out to those who seek to profit from other people’s addictions?

Amy Wright Brill

Sutton, Vt.


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