We Support The Osgood Project ~ VALLEY PATRIOT EDITORIAL (Jan. 2018)

For once, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts got something right… at least for a while.

Decriminalizing marijuana in Massachusetts as the state did several years ago, only made sense. It released local and state law enforcement to focus on more serious and violent crimes. It helped ease the overcrowding in our state prisons. And it relieved the burden on our court system, parole system, and probation departments.

But then, the people of the commonwealth did something stupid.

They decided that they wanted more government involvement in their marijuana purchases. They voted for the government to tax, regulate, and completely legalize marijuana use in the state.

We strongly opposed legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts, not for silly, puritanical reasons, but because we believe that more government control of anything will always lead to government abuses.

We lost that fight when the voters overwhelmingly supported a state ballot measure making pot fully legal. Some just can’t accept that fact.

Now, Jeff and Orit Goldstein, owners of Osgood Landing in North Andover, are trying to open a marijuana manufacturing facility on route 125, in the Osgood building, and some North Andover residents are strongly opposing the project.

These residents organized a group called “Citizens for a Drug Free North Andover,” [as if that was possible] and started a public campaign on Facebook to oppose a plan at town meeting later this month.

Their stated objections ring hollow, and the campaign they are waging smacks of nothing more than sore losers trying to get another bite at the apple.

Some have complained about traffic, or possible changes to the quality of life in their neighborhoods.

The fact is, those who oppose the Osgood project are not worried about traffic, or quality of life, or any of the other excuses publicly given. They simply don’t believe pot should be legal.

But it is. And this project will bring in more than $4.5M into the local budget, 2/3 of which will go to the schools. That’s like getting a $4.5M override without raising taxes.

What’s more, the Osgood building used to employ thousands of people when it was the headquarters for Lucent Technologies. Nobody ever tried to stop Lucent from doing business on that site because of “traffic concerns”.

We are not talking about a marijuana dispensary. This is not going to be store or facility where the public can purchase marijuana. It will be a testing, research, and growing facility for medical uses.

There will be no drive up window where kids can buy pot in town. There will be no line of potheads on Route 125 waiting to purchase their weed. There will be no smoke billowing across the out-country of North Andover.

North Andover could once again have hundreds, or even thousands of people employed at Osgood Landing.

Opposing this project because of moral objections is no different than opposing a liquor license for a local business downtown because you don’t believe liquor should be legal.

Yes, North Andover residents have every right to oppose an indoor marijuana research and growing facility in town at the next Town Meeting January 30th.

Yes, their voice is just as valid as anyone else’s, even if their public reasoning is deceptive and dishonest.

That’s the beauty of living in a free country.

Having said that, we also have the right to call out those opposing this project as hypocrites and moral obstructionists.

As we stated, we opposed making marijuana legal in Massachusetts. But that fight is over. Now that it’s legal, it would be foolish and self-destructive to turn down a growing facility that is both legal and would generate needed revenue for the schools, the police, and other needed town services … without an override.

What’s weird is that conservatives in town used to advocate for lower taxes, and no overrides to pay for basic government services. Now it seems their abstract moral objections have gotten the better of them.

We support the Osgood project.

We encourage our readers in North Andover to attend town meeting January 30th, and do so as well.