On Nov. 2, 2021, the town of Ludlow held a vote as to whether the retail sale of Marijuana (cannabis) should be allowed in the town. By a narrow margin, the majority of those who voted was “no.” At the meeting the previous evening, residents were given the chance to speak and voice their opinions yea or nay on this issue. According to The Vermont Journal, the meeting was “well attended,” though I fail to see a 5% turnout of eligible residents to be a good turnout. Only 11 of those in attendance spoke, and seven were in favor and four opposed. Those speaking in favor received what I would call a favorable response from the attendees while those opposed were quieter.
As I stated that evening, “I’m saddened that it’s all about the money.” Many of those who spoke in favor that evening have a financial interest in bringing cannabis sales to downtown Ludlow. While I disagree with Vermont’s legalization of cannabis sales, that point is moot and not at issue here.
What is at issue is the location of such businesses – and why Ludlow? If I were to believe what was brought forth that evening, the retail sale of cannabis would go a long way to fund the town of Ludlow’s budget as well as the unemployment issues we face: 30 full-time, living wage jobs and upward of $100,000 in revenues for Ludlow. That’s amazing! As a former business owner and devout capitalist, I have no problem with someone pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavor. However, the main focus of these efforts is to make money, and their efforts will be toward their own personal gain, not the wellbeing of Ludlow and its citizens.
The positives and negatives of cannabis use and the statistics related to such use can be twisted and turned to show what either side wants it to show. We certainly saw that during the town meeting on the subject. My issue is “Why Ludlow?”
Ludlow is not a destination retail center. It is a tourist town. It’s a place to come and enjoy what makes Vermont special, the great outdoors and all it offers us the year round. That’s what brought me to Ludlow.
A few years back, when cannabis sales were first legalized in Colorado, my wife and I took a ski trip to Breckinridge. We were curious about the impact of such activities had on a destination resort such as that. While we do not use cannabis, we found out that the location of the retail store was right across the street from our condo, so we took a mosey over to see what it was all about.
Well, we couldn’t find it. Turns out that after some time in operation, the village trustees were not happy with the way things turned out. The atmosphere around the area was indeed a bit seedier than anticipated and not what they felt positive for the downtown area. There were, in fact, loitering issues as well as parking issues due to the increased foot and auto traffic in the area. As a result, the retail sale of cannabis was disallowed in the downtown area. Hmm. Ludlow is not the place for this business. On busy evenings, parking is at a premium there without it!
To date, I believe 31 towns in Vermont have approved the retail sale of cannabis, and there will be more. Before the retail sale of marijuana is a reality in 2024 (?), there will be ample access for those who wish or need to avail themselves of legal pot. I don’t think Ludlow needs to be one of those places.
Even though the issue of retail sales of cannabis was turned down in a legal vote, those who have a financial interest in the establishment of retail pot sales in Ludlow are working hard to see this come to fruition. There is a petition to bring this issue up again to the residents of Ludlow with another vote at a special meeting, at the cost of Ludlow taxpayers. Their motto is “Gotta Love Ludlow.” They will be diligent in their efforts to influence those in favor to get out and vote when and if another vote happens.
I am asking that those of you who do not see this issue as a positive for Ludlow to be just as vocal and encourage your friends and neighbors who think as we do, to be so as well. Let it be known that “We Really Love Ludlow!” Thank you.