Grow, Gift, Repair


The vote on Article 37 to change the town’s zoning bylaw to ban the shops passed 281-51 on the second night of Town Meeting at Hopkinton Middle School. The article passed with an amendment by College Street resident Mary Jo Ondrechen to allow testing laboratories and research facilities.

Retired Patrolman Pat O’Brien said he’s seen the effects that marijuana can have on a person, families and entire town in his 32 years on the department. He said he’s watched children grow up in the town getting addicted to drugs, starting with alcohol and then marijuana.

“I will tell you that marijuana is undeniably a gateway to stronger drugs,” he said. ” … I strongly support the opt-out article because I don’t want to here any more horrifying stories about good kids getting addicted to drugs. Let the other communities be the guinea pigs and let them figure it out. Let’s do what is best for our kids and our community.”

Yale Street resident Megan Carvalho spoke against the ban.

“I’ve heard a lot about it setting a bad example for our kids, but as we all know prohibition on alcohol didn’t stop drinking, abstinence has not stopped kids from having sex and banning retail marijuana shops will not stop people from smoking pot,” she said. “I also think the tax revenue will be beneficial for the town of Hopkinton.”

Wedgewood Drive resident Jeff Hopkins, medical director of the emergency department at Milford Regional Medical Center, spoke in favor of the ban.

“We are dealing with a substance that some people will say is harmless that could not be further from the truth,” he said. “All we have to do is look to our partners in Colorado … what we’ve seen is increased emergency department visits, we’ve seen intoxications and adverse reactions.”

He said retail shops offer a product with stronger ingredients than what’s used at medical marijuana dispensaries.

“This is why most public health organization have taken a position against recreational marijuana,” he said.

Downey Street resident Christiane Perrin said the ban limits her rights and is against the state’s vote to legalize recreational marijuana.

“If I decide that one evening that I’d like to smoke a joint to relax, which a lot people do not just do in this town but other towns, I can’t buy it in my town,” she said. “I have to go to another town and spend my money there.”