Category Archives: Massachusetts

What would Massachusetts do with $100m

Marijuana TourismI know some will not be pleased with my continued advocacy for legalization of marijuana and my frustration with Massachusetts stonewalling the opening of shops for medicinal sales.

This week Coloradans raised a lot of eyebrows when it was reported marijuana tourism is creating an economic boom for Colorado ski towns with some reporting that as much as 90% of the recreational pot being purchased is coming from tourists.  In April Reuters reported Colorado expected to bring in $98 million in revenue, exceeding the state’s expectations by 40%.  Now numbers of more than $100 million in new tax revenue are expected.

I’m not being naive about potential problems with full legalization of marijuana, but since the state seems so enthralled with legalizing gambling, I figure one vice is as good as another and at least with the case of marijuana one might expect to see a rise in tourism.  Sorry Revere, MA but no matter how amazing you make your casino (and I doubt that it will actually be amazing) I find it hard to believe it will help increase tourism to the state. There are regional casinos in mediocre towns through out the US already, but full legalization of marijuana remains quite rare and would provide a unique distinction.  If legalized, I’d propose following 4th of July and before Bear Week in Ptown they create a new theme week called “Pot Week in Ptown”. I bet Spiritus Pizza would have a banner week. ;-)

State Senate votes to let cities regulate liquor licenses

State Liquor licenseOn Tuesday our State Senate approved an economic development bill that had a provision in it that gives cities and towns more control over liquor licenses.  Massachusetts currently caps the number of licenses allowed in a city or town, mandating that any requests for additional licenses must be brought before the State Legislature.

The Senate’s vote runs counter to The House which did not include the liquor license proposal is its version of the same bill.  That means the next step is to bring the bill to a committee tasked with writing a compromise; lets hope that they maintain the liquor license plan in the final bill.  If you feel strongly about this, I suggest you contact your state representative.

Don’t know your representative or how to reach them?  Link Here.

 

Free Fun Fridays start this week

Free Fun Fridays Highland Street FoundationThanks to the Highland Street Foundation, Free fun Friday’s has returned to Boston this summer, starting this Friday.

Each week several museums and cultural venues will be free and open to the public.  This Friday the Franklin Park Zoo, MIT Museum, The Sports Museum, Cape Cod Maritime Museum, Worcester Art Museum, Mass MOCA and Tanglewood are all FREE.  Thank you very much Highland Foundation. I love your Free Fun Fridays and look forward to them every summer.

You can see the full list of Free Friday programs this summer here.

CapeFLYER

Cape FlyerStarting this Friday (May 23) the summertime weekend CapeFLYER train service between Boston and Cape Cod will begin.  This year the CapeFLYER will add an additional stop at Wareham Village in addition to the Buzzards Bay Station and Hyannis Transportation Center.

The trains include bike racks, concessions and free Wi-Fi Internet. They will also continue to coordinate stops with ferry operators to run shuttle service for customers traveling to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

For more details, including to see complete schedules and ticket information, visit www.capeflyer.com.

The Hard-Won Fight: America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages

The Hard-Won Fight: America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages

Source: Susan Symonds photo “Homo Sex Is In”

Sip the Rainbow cocktail reception on Friday marks the opening of the Boston Center for Adult Education photo exhibition The Hard-Won Fight: America’s First Legal Same-Sex Marriages by Marilyn Humphries and Susan Symonds and Marriage Equality / 10th Anniversary Portraits by photographer Joel Benjamin.

Sip the Rainbow: Friday, May 16th  6:00 – 8:00 PM 
$15 in advance / $20 at the door
Includes 3 cocktails from Ki Bar Event+Cocktail Design
Purchase Tickets Here 
 

The legal battle Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health is etched in my mind.  Not only did I follow this local story, but I also stood outside the Massachusetts State House in the months that followed the ruling showing my support in the freezing cold to offset the hundreds of people who came from all over the country to protest and pressure our State Legislature to reverse the State Supreme Court’s ruling.

This is part of our story.  Be  proud of what started here in 2004.  We set the country on fire with this debate and have proven that the criticism that this would destroy the institution of marriage is nothing but homophobic rants; a decade later and Massachusetts continues to have the lowest divorce rate in the country. #InconvenientTruth

Patrick’s new economic bill: NonCompetes, H-1BVisa and Liquor Licenses

Deval PatrickGovernor Deval Patrick is shaking things up with the economic bill he shared last week that aims to make doing business in Massachusetts easier.

The big headlines include his desire to eliminate noncompetes and creating a “global Entrepreneur in Residence” program to allow foreign students to work at Massachusetts start ups as a way to work around the restrictions associated with H-1B visa program.

However, I was more excited to read that Deval Patrick’s plan also give cities and towns greater control over the number liquor licenses in their communities by ending existing statutory limits.  This is long overdue and I hope it is successful. Now we just need the MA Sate legislature to pass these initiatives so Patrick may sign them into law.

Medical marijuana business symposium

potThis Saturday the National Cannabis Industry Association will host an all-day CannaBusiness Symposium here in Boston.

Denver-based, Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, is an event sponsor.  The firm has indicated that in light of state’s legalization of medical marijuana they plan to sign a Massachusetts licensee to cultivate marijuana and manufacture and distribute its products here.  All this talk about cannabis-friendly edibles makes me wonder what sort of snacks will be handed out at this program.

Details here.

20 medical marijuana dispensary licenses granted

potAlthough it will likely be summertime before any medical marijuana dispensaries in MA open their doors for business, twenty licenses were granted by the State today.

The State’s Department of Public Health approved marijuana dispensaries in: Ayer, Boston, Brockton, Brookline, Cambridge, Dennis, Fairhaven, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lowell, Mashpee, Milford, Newton, Northampton, Plymouth, Quincy, Salem, Taunton and Worcester.  I couldn’t find the addresses of where these will be in those communities, but I’m sure there’ll be a lot more about this forthcoming.

Spencer Trappist Ale

Spencer Trappist AleWhen people think of local brewers, Sam Adams most likely comes to mind although the region does have an excellent collection of  brewers that deserve attention.  Last weekend NPR reported that there is one more brewery out in Western MA that may be worth checking out if only for the novelty. Spencer Trappist Ale has started selling their ale in Massachusetts this week, although I’ve not been able to identify where. UPDATE: In Boston, you can get this at Social Wines in Southie.

I associate the Trappist monks in Western MA with making delicious preserves so I’m intrigued. Apparently St. Joseph’s Abbey is only one out of ten Trappist abbeys worldwide to make ale and the only one outside of Europe.  More about this story can be read here.

Chris Remmes explores run for state representative

Chris RemmesLong time friend and resident of Charlestown, Chris Remmes, announced his intention to explore a campaign for the 2nd Suffolk State Representative seat held by Eugene O’Flaherty.

Chris Remmes, Charlestown Democratic Ward Chair and civic activist, to explore run for State Representative

I do not live in Charlestown or Chelsea (the district Chris seeks to represent), but I’ve known Chris for more than a decade.  We first met at The AIDS Action Committee back in 2002 as regular volunteers. While I’m unfamiliar with the issues important to residents of Charlestown and Chelsea, I am familiar with is Chris’ excellent work ethic, his caring nature and great listening skills. He is a hard working, smart man of integrity and when he announced his intention to explore a run for State Representative I wanted to make sure I gave him a shout out on to let others know about Chris’ intentions.

If you live in Charlestown or Chelsea or if you would like to help Chris Remmes as he contemplates a run to unseat Eugene O’Flaherty, get involved / make a donation here.

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts

potToday is the deadline for 158  qualified applicants seeking to open medical marijuana dispensaries in the state to submit their proposals.

Under the law, each county will have at least one and a maximum of five dispensaries; a total of 35 locations for the state have been approved. Cities and towns are not allowed to permanently ban dispensaries, but they can zone where they can be located.  This second phase of the application process will now go before a committee that will score applicants on such factors as ability to meet the health needs of registered patients, appropriateness of the site, geographic distribution of dispensaries, 
local support, and plans to ensure public safety.

The chosen applicants will be notified early in 2014.

Know your (Gay) history: 10 years ago today

Same Sex Marriage10 years ago today Massachusetts State Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a ban on gay marriage is discriminatory and unconstitutional. Opponents made doomsday predictions about how this would harm traditional marriage and lead to problems with children raised in same-sex households.  History has proven those arguments were nothing more than barely concealed homophobic rantings.  

I would imagine the fact that the very, very gay friendly state of Massachusetts having the lowest divorce rate per capita in the United States is a very inconvenient truth for those who continue to oppose same sex marriage on the basis that it harms the institution of marriage.

Justice Margaret MarshallWant to read more about this topic? Check out The Boston Globe’s recent article, A decade after Mass. ruling, gay marriage gains.

The price of weed

marijuanaWebsite priceofweed.com is a self-described crowd sourcing site to help determine the street value of marijuana by receiving feedback from consumers. HuffingtonPost was so taken by the data that they created this interesting infographic in last week’s article, Here’s Where To Find The Cheapest Weed In The US.

Makes me wonder what sort of tax revenue this could generate?

Why I’m voting for Carl Sciortino

Photo Credit: Seth Rau

Photo Credit: Seth Rau

Carl Sciortino is an openly gay progressive candidate who champions social equality and justice causes. So when Carl announced that he would run to fill Ed Markey’s (D-MA) seat in the US House of Representatives, I immediately knew I’d be voting for him.

However, some of you may not know who Carl is and after I saw his campaign video featuring his Dad, I thought this was the perfect opportunity / excuse to give Carl a plug on my blog.

State shares list of nearly 200 marijuana dispensaries

potLast week the state’s Department of Public Health released a list of nearly 200 applications for marijuana dispensaries around the state; including 21 applications for Suffolk County here in Boston.

The public health department is conducting a two-phase application process. Qualified applicants will be eligible to proceed where a selection committee will conduct an in-depth review and select dispensaries through a competitive process.  The department is expected to approve up to 35 dispensaries by the end of the year, including at least one, but not more than five, in each county.