Medical Marijuana dispensary pursuing Southborough location (Updated)

by beth on January 28, 2016

Post image for Medical Marijuana dispensary pursuing Southborough location (Updated)

Above: A company has taken out a conditional lease for a Medical Marijuana dispensary in Southborough. (Image cropped from Google Maps)

An applicant is taking steps to site a Medical Marijuana dispensary in Southborough.

According to Town Administrator Mark Purple, The Commonwealth Cannabis Company (CommCan) has a conditional lease for space at 255 Turnpike Road, next to Volvo.

The company is now seeking a letter of support (or non-opposition) from the Board of Selectmen. That item will appear on their agenda for Tuesday.

The letter is one step in the legal process for siting a dispensary in town. The company would then seek approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

In the fall, CommCan posted that it was in Phase 2 for three Applications of Intent they had filed with the Department of Public Health. On January 25th the company updated that it had been invited to the third (and final) phase of the process.

At her last Planning Board meeting, former-Town Planner Jennifer Burney mentioned that dispensaries had contacted the town for the BOS approval letter. Purple clarified for me that only one company has submitted a request. He confirmed that it will be addressed at the February 2nd meeting. 

Under bylaws, the location is restricted to specific areas along Route 9. That restricted Medical Marijuana zoning was passed by Annual Town Meeting in 2014.

At the time, some residents expressed discomfort with the zoned area or having any dispensaries town. But Paul Cimino (then-Planning Board member, current selectman) explained that the choice was between limiting the zoning or leaving it open to any zone (including residential neighborhoods) as long as it passed state standards.

The state requires each town to allow facilities. Overly restrictive zoning would likely have been rejected by the Attorney General’s office.

For several months before the final vote, there was disagreement between Planning and the Board of Health on zoning restrictions. The Board of Health advocated larger zoning than the area sought by the Planning Board. Lack of consensus led to the article being postponed at the Special Town Meeting in fall 2013.

The compromise eventually reached among town boards, and ratified by voters, restricts dispensaries to Route 9’s Highway Business District, Industrial Park District or Industrial District.*

The property must also be at least 500 feet from a school, recreational facility or day-care center.

ZBA Chair Leo Bartolini will be attending the BOS meeting on Tuesday. But he will be there for another item, to address issues on Flagg Road.

Updated (1/29/16 12:40 pm): The BOS posted their meeting packet for February 2nd. Click links for the agenda and for CommCan’s submitted materials.

*For the full, specific zoning restrictions in the Town Code, click here.

1 Cynthia January 28, 2016 at 1:21 PM

Uh Oh….here comes the NIMBY crowd

2 Townie January 29, 2016 at 8:11 AM

Spot on!

3 M January 30, 2016 at 11:55 AM

Exactly!

4 NIMBY 1 January 28, 2016 at 3:37 PM

So what do we have to do to encourage the BOS to not non-oppose this? Is emailing them enough?

Regardless of where you stand, this is an image thing and having this right on Route 9 will be a black eye for Southborough.

5 beth January 28, 2016 at 8:35 PM

I’m not familiar with what grounds are necessary to oppose the applicant. Legally, the Town had to allow zoning. And the zoning was defined as Rte. 9.

So, I doubt they can oppose the applicant on the basis that being on Rte 9 is a “black eye”. They likely need another, more compelling reason.

You certainly can email your opinion. But if you want to make sure your stated opinion is relevant to the discussion, you may want to attend the meeting.

If you choose to email, unlike the blog, you won’t be able to submit it anonymously.

6 Townie January 29, 2016 at 8:17 AM

What gives Southborough a “Black Eye” is the opposition from residents to have any sort of new business in town. As our debt continues to rise, this town sits back and watches every boarding town grow and gain from the american dream.

I’m in favor of this as it will generate taxes, jobs, and helps ill people deal with life with a little less pain.

7 Tim Martel January 29, 2016 at 11:33 AM

This dispensary will be a non-profit, and almost certainly tax exempt.

Our Town is rapidly losing the few commercially zoned areas it has left. We lost the area at Rt 9 & Crystal Pond Rd to a 40B. We are losing the area at 495 and Rt 9 to another 40B. This facility is yet another example of a commercial Rt 9 lot going to waste.

Perhaps the BOS and the ZBA will be able to write a condition into the permit Approval that requires this facility to pay a “hosting fee” in lieu of tax, as has been done in other places in the state for new non-profits.

To be clear, my disdain and frustration is aimed *solely* at these State laws that prevent us from governing our own Town, and prevent our local leaders from having any control whatsoever over the outcomes.

And its truly ironic when you consider that the State’s own “495 Metrowest Development Compact” identifies this area as being a top priority for the state’s future economic development, but then the State goes ahead and forces non-commercial uses upon it.
http://www.mass.gov/hed/economic/eohed/pro/planning/metrowest/

8 Al Hamilton January 29, 2016 at 12:50 PM

Tim

Perhaps there is a silver lining. Could we convince someone to open a convenience store next door to serve the Munchies Market? That would generate some tax dollars.

9 Kim February 3, 2016 at 6:49 PM

Really Townie,
Why not read the information?? They will pay small taxes on the property. It’s an all cash business so who even knows what the actual true revenue will be?? They will happily give the town gifts and quickly offered 3-5% of their profits!! What business does that?? Offers their profits up at an initial meeting?? Something is fishy here and all of the residents of the town should be concerned. Of note: folks who need medical marijuana can have it delivered directly to their door.
Now think about this…you want to live behind a business full of cash and marijuana, both non traceable, easily stolen with the nice entrance to 495. I can easily imagine anyone looking for quick and easy cash targeting these locations and of course entering from the back…which is your yard.

10 John Kendall January 28, 2016 at 4:20 PM

If this is what some people need instead of regular pharmaceuticals, so be it. They have my vote.

11 NIMBY 1 January 29, 2016 at 8:55 AM

If this were at all about pharmaceuticals, this would be dealt with through the normal pharmaceutical channels that we already have. Every other drug is distributed through pharmacies, why is this one different?

12 Clifford Resident January 28, 2016 at 6:32 PM

Wow- I don’t think that any location could be worse in Southborouogh!
I bought my house on Clifford 13 years ago and nothing positive has come out of our town government regarding the development in this area. We have allowed a horrific 4 house development (governed only by the Environmental Commission) demolish 5 acres of wooded lots and cause nothing but havoc for existing land owners. We have allowed DiPietri to file a monstrous 40B (and then some) development behind the Red Roof because we had an inept planner and a questionable ethics of the governance boards. Now, we have a medical marijuana dispensary who has secured a lease for the building next to Volvo and that is literally at the 500 ft marker of the middle school zone. Wow, wouldn’t it be great for the BoS and ZBA to actually support its residents instead of paving the way for this disaster? I am in jaw-dropped shock. So very disappointed to say the least….

13 Wendy January 28, 2016 at 6:38 PM

It’s certainly ironic that there’s been office space vacancies in town, open land right on Rt. 9, and an old restaurant space being used as a dealership parking lot, but somehow Southborough is an appealing location for a marijuana dispensary.

Lucky for us, this is a case where the town government was proactive in establishing policies for this new type of development.

14 JPD January 28, 2016 at 7:51 PM

I’m fine with it as long as it’s safe and they pay a lot of taxes to Southborough!

15 NIMBY 1 January 29, 2016 at 9:02 AM

I do not believe that there are any special taxes collected from this industry.

16 Jonas January 29, 2016 at 11:25 AM

This has about as much chance as happening as snow in August. The wolfpack is already out in full force. Welcome to Southboro- Crushing Business Dreams since 1995

17 SB January 29, 2016 at 12:58 PM

You got that right! Looks like Marnie Hoolahan (SOS treasurer) is using the SOS directory and asking everyone to sign her petition. Not sure that is the right approach or use of the directory.

18 beth January 29, 2016 at 1:56 PM

Not sure you are right about that. I’m in the SOS Directory and didn’t get the email.

On the other hand, I did get her petition (through My Southborough email) from someone else. It may be that she and others are just forwarding through their personal contact lists.

19 SB January 29, 2016 at 2:24 PM

She confirmed she pulled names from the directory – I’m happy to share her response.

20 beth January 29, 2016 at 2:56 PM

If you have verification, that’s fine.

21 Sean Connelly January 29, 2016 at 9:27 PM

It’s clear to everyone, newcomers and townies alike, that there is a gross negligence in this town when it comes to being able to foster a positive environment for businesses. It’s sad and clearly a problem for some people leaving, though that isn’t preventing people from coming. I know there are many people involved in helping fix this problem and I hope bodies like the town’s Economic Development Committee can start to fix the problem. In the meantime, we need to divorce ourselves from decrying a pot dispensary due to an anti-business atmosphere and tax issues. Sure, maybe it would improve our tax base a bit and be a new business in Southborough, but not enough to make any meaningful difference.

This is too close to existing school bus stops, too close to schools and simply not appropriate for this town. I support the right for people to seek marijuana for their treatments, but with the potential one down the road in Framingham I just don’t see the need. I am a NIMBY, but I am also pro business… when it makes sense.

22 Rob January 29, 2016 at 1:10 PM

We need tax help badly! We get no services for the crazy amount taxes we pay. No trash pick up. No sewer. Understaffed police and fire. Town government is way to big for what we get out of it. Why do we pay benefits to part-time town government employees? The structure of town government needs to change. People are leaving town!

23 Tasha January 29, 2016 at 2:33 PM

I also received a forward email from a friend not Marnie directly, regarding the petition. If folks actually read it, the request is to have the dispensary at a location much further away from two very busy schools. Let’s all be smart here, as there are plenty of business spots on Rt 9 much further from the schools.

24 beth January 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM

Complaint also speaks to issues abutters are already facing as reason it’s a bad site. You can read more here.

25 M January 30, 2016 at 12:07 PM

Beth, Do you know why the petition is run through Change.Org in the link? Is there a connection to that organization?

26 beth January 30, 2016 at 2:21 PM

I don’t have inside information.

But looking at Change.org, it looks like the only position it advocates is using their site to effect change in their community that is driven from grassroots level. It welcomes “anyone” to create a petition.

It doesn’t state any specific agenda or political leaning. So I’m assuming it’s just being used as a convenient platform.

(In fact, when I ran a search for marijuana on the site, I went through 3 1/2 pages of results that were in some way pro-marijuana before finding one that opposed it in any way.)

27 Southville January 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM

Not sure if it changes any minds one way or the other, but full marijuana legalization is likely to be on the ballot in November, and it looks like it will pass. My guess is that within a few years dispensaries like this will be about as controversial as your average liquor store.

28 Im in favor January 29, 2016 at 7:25 PM

People, this town hash’t passed a 21 and over sales of tobacco law, we dish out liquor licenses to anyone who asks and our society is being ripped to shreds by prescription painkillers and opioids. All legal. And all should be illegal to a much higher level of regulations. And Sperry’s is right near the Trottier School too. Nobody voted against that or brought up how many kids get addicted to alcohol.

The fact is, in two, three, four, five, ten years, when you go to have a surgery or get an illness with a lot of pain or discomfort, you will likely be getting a prescription for marijuana at this facility and not a 30-day supply of opioids. Or even a ten day supply of opioids. Like the world: times, a they are a changing’.

The petition is just a bunch of misleading, overreacting misinformation. Don’t pay any attention to it. Try talking to your children about drugs, its more effective than depriving people with severe pain, surgeries, illnesses, cancer, diseases, mental illness and sever anxiety the medication they need to live they life in more comfort.

29 RE January 30, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Thank you for your post. Couldn’t agree more. The exploding epidemic of addiction to prescription opioid based painkillers is killing almost 17,000 people a year in this country, alcohol related deaths near 75,000. Both drugs are readily available in this town. A person seeking medical marijuana will actually have to jump through more hoops than the person filling a script for vicodin or buying booze. Why are we not trying to close down Walgreens and the many liquor stores in this town? I am also concerned that there are some protesting the dispensary on the grounds there is no one in town in need of medical marijuana. How could anyone possibly know that? In other words they don’t need it, therefore no one else should need it. The level of ignorance being displayed over this issue is concerning.

30 Downtown Resident January 30, 2016 at 9:22 AM

remembering the Wendy’s controversy
and, well…
at least this business won’t be able to have a drive through!
But all kidding aside, does a dispensary mean that the product will be packaged at this site and shipped to pharmaceutical retail stores? Or is it a retail store itself, where people come in with a prescription for the product and make their purchase on-site?

31 M January 30, 2016 at 12:21 PM

I wonder if the Police Drug Enforcement Officer could tell us if existing dispensaries in the state have proven to bring increased crime or other problems to it’s neighborhood? Is there any justification for the petitioner’s claims that children would be at increased risk, specifically because of a dispensary vs. a liquor store, not just due to the petitioner’s opposition to marijuana users in general?

32 M January 30, 2016 at 12:34 PM

There seem to be very few places in Southborough, along the allowed route 9 zone, that would satisfy any NIMBY. But it will also be necessary for the patients that need to use the establishment to feel safe entering and exiting, and this is the zone that previous debate concluded was best for all needs.

Ms. Hoolahan’s frustration seems to be from the continued assault on her neighborhood, in so many ways. Understandable. Yet it is the 40B project that may have more resulting long-term detrimental effects to the whole town. This peititon may only succeed in moving the dispensary a little further down the road.

33 Im in favor January 30, 2016 at 2:48 PM

I could not agree mores with this claim more. UNderstandeable that the petitioner feels some level of over-action in their neighborhood. But the 40B and other housing being built up there has nothing to do with the Turnpike proposal and should not be lumped in together.

What is a shame is that her petition seeks to harm others: namely people who are ill, sick, have had hard surgeries, have mental illness, depression, anxiety and other health problems who would benefit from the medicine/product at this dispensary. Not just Southborough residents, but anyone in the region. Again, the truth is this medicine will replace powerful, addictive painkillers, opioids and narcotic prescriptions in the very near future and will help reduce those painkillers/opiods from getting into our children’s hands. We cannot allow the whole to regress just because some petitioner doesn’t like development in their area. if you don’t like development, buy the land or live in a gated community where you can shut the gates. If you can’t afford that, work within the process to mitigate the development as best you can. But don’t bring everyone else down…

34 Publius January 30, 2016 at 3:56 PM

Let’s face it, the people overwhelmingly voted to allow these dispensaries. Think this is bad? wait until the ballot allowing recreational use passes then folks will really have something to complain about. Rt.9 is a completely acceptable location for a dispensary.

35 Safdar Medina January 31, 2016 at 8:15 AM

There is no doubt that medicinal marijuana has its role in the treatment of debilitating neurological disorders. Unfortunately, it has become all too easy for many individuals to obtain “medical marijuana cards”, many of them who do not need it. That marijuana is being diverted. Our youth will become the target of those trying to make a profit. Many children end up using marijuana to cope with underlying stress. This stress could be being bullied, dealing with stress at home, trying to cope with the recent death of a loved one, or just feeling enormous pressure about school, sports, etc. Many of those who sell marijuana prey on these vulnerable children. We cannot send the message to the youth of our town that marijuana is safe. This gateway has harmful effects on the developing brain; experimentation can rapidly escalate to habitual use in young users.

36 Im in favor February 1, 2016 at 7:35 PM

I think it has become all too easy for children and adults to get their hands on addictive narcotics, opioids and those have become today’s gateway drugs. Many of which are way too overprescribed and its those companies who are now preying on children.

I am not going to debate your claim, but please do not act holier than thou on the topic. Medical marijuana is far less damaging than tobacco, alcohol and the vast majority of prescription painkillers and drugs, many of which are way too over prescribed.

Medical marijuana is an alternative that may actually work for some people and be a better alternative than opioids. You’re denial of this alternative to people who make that choice is really short sited and missing the point.

I read the news very regularly. I have never read a story about a death of a child from medical marijuana. But I read stories every day about children and young adults who are dying from painkillers. Medical marijuana may not be the perfect situation, but Ill take a chance this is a better alternative than over prescribed painkillers.

37 M February 1, 2016 at 8:51 PM

First, the long time argument about marijuana escalating to other harder drugs has been studied for a long time and most find it not to be true. Second, many children use all sorts of ways to cope with stress, and may find it much easier to access their parents’ alcohol or prescription drugs. Third, those who would “target” youth and sell to them would be more apt to supply free heroin, yes I said free, as this is what quickly turns them to addicts.
Aside from that, young people have fairly easy access to many harmful presciption drugs, party drugs, and even everyday household items used in dangerous ways. Of all these, marijuana may be the least harmful, which is why it is being more widely accepted and legalized.
So, if we are to protect our youth, the continued vigilence of parents, teachers, coaches, and other adults to help deal with their stress, bullying and other emotional needs is paramount. Our excellent drug education programs and the Southborough police drug enforcement will serve the families as well.

38 Al Hamilton February 1, 2016 at 8:10 AM

Whether you thing medical marijuana is a good thing or not, is not relevant. The voters approved its use. Once approved, the town has cannot prevent dispensaries from locating in Southborough. It can and did limit the locations consistent with our zoning by laws.

We should hold the Selectmen responsible for things they have control over but in this case, their span of control is quite modest. If you want hold those responsible to account then you need to gather petitions to put this matter on a statewide ballot or further restrict the zoning by amending the zoning bylaws.

39 M February 2, 2016 at 10:36 PM

Yes, Al. But I think this fired up new discussion thread is a result of the citizen’s petition that has started and some maneuver in Hopkington (?) that stopped a dispensary. I don’t know what the next steps would be after that. Perhaps all of the arguments herein are an attempt to stop folks from signing that petition.

40 Al Hamilton February 3, 2016 at 8:08 AM

Just for the record, I have no problem with citizen petitions and think we should have more of them not less. It is just that the BOS’s span of control might not be as great as the petitioners would like.

41 Frank Crowell February 1, 2016 at 12:17 PM

I wonder if pot can remedy WiFi syndrome. Must be some crack pot (no pun intended) web site that can give some insight into this.

The voters have spoken on illegal immigration but look where that has got us.

Maybe pot can be sold at the Burnett House to help off set some costs.

42 Im in favor February 1, 2016 at 7:42 PM

In a fully plot twist, it probably makes zero business sense, but hellfire, finally someone found a use for the Burnett House: a Bed & Breakfast with a medical marijuana dispensary. And a farm with organic vegetables across the street. I see the vision, Frank Crowell, I see the vision……………

43 M February 2, 2016 at 10:39 PM

OMG. So funny. thanks

44 LW February 1, 2016 at 9:44 PM

My biggest concern is the potential crime associated with medical marijuana dispensaries. There have been quite a few instances of violent robberies at these facilities, particularly recently.

45 beth February 2, 2016 at 9:23 AM

Since there have been multiple references to the opiod abuse problem in this comment debate, I wanted to let commenters know that I just posted a story on that issue.

Recently, Algonquin hosted an Opiod Use and Abuse Forum. Northborough Cable Access Television made the video available this week. I just posted the video along with highlights.

46 Publius February 2, 2016 at 12:29 PM

LW – at first I thought that was a false claim but it is actually the hard truth. These dispensaries are often targets of violent robberies. One of the big reasons is the requirement that they deal in cash only.

47 M February 2, 2016 at 10:47 PM

Yes Publius, I was about to say the same thing. LW: the Federal law prohibits the use of funds for marijuana sales to be transferred in and out of banks, thus no credit cards or checks, etc. It is a cash business and thus a target for robbery. This is being dealt with in Colorado. I do not know if there is other crime associated with the dispensary currently operating near Boston. I have asked. I have researched. Found nothing. If anyone knows, specifically here in Massachusetts, please tells us.

48 Julie Connelly February 3, 2016 at 9:46 AM

According the the Police Chief’s report at last night’s meeting, there are 4 dispensaries open in the Commonwealth, the first one having opened just 6 months ago, and the others are very recent. There have been no issues yet, but this process is in its infancy in Massachusetts, so there is no real data to consider at this point. Southborough will get to be a test case to see how this all works out.

49 NIMBY neighbor February 3, 2016 at 11:45 AM

CASH business in our backyards (physically)!!!!! It is a shame that our elected BOS were so dismissive of the constituents it will most greatly effect. They asked CommCan if they were in a hurry to receive a letter of approval. What a joke!! Of course they are!!

A few years ago my neighborhood wanted a tree cut down that obstructed our view when turning onto Flagg Road. That took 4 meetings for the BOS to eventually say NO.

One meeting/one Selectman absent/YES vote. Thank you BOS!

50 raul duke February 2, 2016 at 6:44 PM

1. 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use. (CDC)

2. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes. (CDC)

3. Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications affecting every organ in your body, including your brain. Additionally, it can damage your emotional stability, finances, career, impact your family, friends and the people you work with. (NCAAD)

4. Women who binge drink are more likely to have unprotected sex and multiple sex partners. These activities increase the risks of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. (CDC)

5. 100,000 persons die each year from alcohol-related causes: drinking and driving crashes, other accidents, falls, fires, alcohol-related homicides and suicides. (NCAAD)

6. Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and, as a result, can increase the risk of physically assaulting another person. (CDC)

7. Of the 3.9 million Americans who received treatment for a substance abuse problem in 2005, 2.5 million of them were treated for alcohol use. (Drug Free World)

8. Approximately 17 percent of men and 8 percent of women will be dependent on alcohol in their lifetime. (NIAAA)

9. Because of the astounding 80,000 deaths that are related to alcohol abuse every year, alcohol abuse is the third highest cause of death in the U.S. (CDC)

10. 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking. (NIAAA)

11. Approximately 7,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 16 take their first drink every day, which is a major problem because those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21. (Rehabs.com)

12. Excessive alcohol consumption cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006. This amounts to about $1.90 per drink, or about $746 per person. (CDC)

13. Alcoholism includes the following four symptoms: craving, loss of control, physical dependence, and tolerance. (NCADD)

14. Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year — that’s more than all illegal drugs combined. (MADD)

15. 5.3 million adults −- 36 percent of those under correctional supervision at the time -− were drinking at the time of their conviction offense. (NCADD)
CLOSE THE LIQUOR STORES IF YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE KIDS

51 M February 2, 2016 at 11:01 PM

RD: Your outrage is justified. The statistics are appalling. Another Prohibition Era is not going to happen. But perhaps, this is one of the reasons that some citizens are so concerned about opening the barn door on legalization of another drug. Perhaps, they are not all anti-drug, anti-hippiepotsmokers, etc. Perhaps they ust don’t want us to make the same mistakes as happened with alcohol. Not everyone opposed to marijuana happens to love alcohol use.
But any information that we can supply to erase misconceptions about marijuana use would be helpful.

52 Al Hamilton February 3, 2016 at 8:09 AM

Just for the record, I have no problem with citizen petitions and think we should have more of them not less. It is just that the BOS’s span of control might not be as great as the petitioners would like.

53 Julie Connelly February 3, 2016 at 12:23 PM

I think the BOS did have the power to stop this. The state regulation requires an applicant to request a letter of support or of non-opposition from the host city or town. There is no requirement that a town issue such a letter, and this same applicant has been blocked from operating in other towns in this way.

54 Kim February 3, 2016 at 6:42 PM

I agree with Julie. The BOS did not have to give the letter and they also could have taken some time to hear what the resident’s concerns were and scheduled a follow up meeting. They actually asked the CommCan if they were in a hurry and needed this letter right away, which of course they said they did. Really?? The BOS consistently puts rulings off to future meetings. But not this one…
Very interested why the BOS is was close to CommCan, it was clear that many discussions had taken place before the meeting last night.
Of note: Ellen Rosenfield, the President of CommCan sat in the front row and guffawed at the resident’s and their concerns. She actually burst out laughing at one point and was agitated much of the meeting. So completely disrespectful to the residents. Surprised?

55 Rob February 10, 2016 at 2:38 PM

Its not the BOS lack of control… Its just the lack of a quality BOS period. Town meeting style government it completely out dated. Time to move into the new century.

56 raul duke February 2, 2016 at 6:51 PM

Scientists are asking people across the globe to lay off sugary drinks, linking the consumption to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year, including more than 25,000 Americans.

Overall, that means one in every 100 deaths from obesity-related diseases is caused by sugary beverages, according to a study published Monday in the journal Circulation. The study, conducted by researchers from Tufts University, found that the beverages would be responsible for 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 from cancer.

[Sorry diet soda drinkers, your favorite beverage may lead to more belly fat as you age]

About three-fourths of the deaths due to sugary drinks were in developing countries, according to the study. Latin America, in particular, had among the highest death rates, with Mexico topping the list at 405 deaths per million adults, or about 24,000 total deaths. The United States ranked fourth, with 125 deaths per million adults.

Researchers collected data on deaths and disabilities from 2010 and calculated the direct effect that sugar-sweetened beverages had on public health based on dietary surveys reaching more than 600,000 people. The beverages in the study included sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sweetened iced teas and homemade sugary drinks such as frescas.

The American Beverage Association dismissed the study when it was first presented to the American Heart Association as an abstract in 2013, taking issue that it had been presented without being published or peer-reviewed.

“This study does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases and the authors themselves acknowledge that they are at best estimating effects of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption,” the ABA said in a statement released Tuesday. “America’s beverage companies are doing their part to offer consumers the fact-based information and the beverage options they need to make the right choices for themselves and their families.”

[America’s getting even fatter according to the latest obesity statistics]

Now that the study has been peer-reviewed, its authors say they remain confident about the results.

“If the sugar industry’s argument is that there’s no correlation, that’s not correct,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, an author of the study and dean of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the main source of added sugars in the American diet, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. In 2015, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee also recommended that people replace soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages with milk and 100 percent fruit juice.

In the United States, soda consumption has been on the decline for the past decade, and in Mexico, a year-old sugar tax has been credited for a slump in consumption.

“There’s definitely been progress, but there’s still a huge amount of soda consumption in the U.S. and globally,” Mozaffarian said.

57 M February 2, 2016 at 11:10 PM

and your point is? If one uses medical marijuana, and then gets the munchies, they are up a creek anyway? Seriously, RD, are you just trying to point out all the foolish ways we are killing ourselves in an argument about zoning for a dispensary? It only takes one pointed arrow at the heart of a matter to disolve the debate. Carpet bombing may not be effective.

58 raul duke February 2, 2016 at 6:54 PM

Prevalence of Childhood Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States. Despite recent declines in the prevalence among preschool-aged children, obesity among children is still too high. For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years, the prevalence of obesity has remained fairly stable at about 17% and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents for the past decade. [Read abstract Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA)]

Approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese
The prevalence of obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years decreased significantly from 13.9% in 2003-2004 to 8.4% in 2011-2012.
In 2011-2012, 8.4% of 2- to 5-year-olds had obesity compared with 17.7% of 6- to 11-year-olds and 20.5% of 12- to 19-year-olds.Childhood obesity is also more common among certain racial and ethnic groups.

In 2011-2012, the prevalence among children and adolescents was higher among Hispanics (22.4%) and non-Hispanic blacks (20.2%) than among non-Hispanic whites (14.1%).
The prevalence of obesity was lower in non-Hispanic Asian youth (8.6%) than in youth who were non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black or Hispanic.
Note: In children and adolescents age 2 to 19 years, obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the sex-specific CDC BMI-for-age growth charts.

Childhood obesity is associated with adult head of household’s education level for some children

[Read the report Obesity–United States 1999–2010, in MMWR]

Obesity prevalence differs among racial/ethnic groups and also varies by age, sex, and adult head of household’s and education level.
Overall, obesity prevalence among children whose adult head of household completed college was approximately half that of those whose adult head of household did not complete high school (9% vs 19% among girls; 11% vs 21% among boys) in 1999–2010.
Among non-Hispanic white children, the lowest prevalence of obesity was observed among those whose adult head of household completed college; however, this was not the case for non-Hispanic black children.
Over time, the prevalence of obesity among girls whose adult head of household had not finished high school increased from 17% (1999–2002) to 23% (2007–2010), but decreased for girls whose adult head of household completed college from 11% (1999–2002) to 7% (2007–2010). There was not a similar finding among boys. CLOSE WENDYS

59 M February 2, 2016 at 11:15 PM

….ibid.

60 Steve February 3, 2016 at 8:37 AM

The most influential “gateway” drug is alcohol, period. Maybe Southborough should revoke all the liquor licenses and close all the package stores. Only then might we get a proper remake of “Footloose”.

It’s medical marijuana, therefore a prescription is required to receive it like any other far more dangerous prescription drug.

I’ve read a few comments about “high” drivers on Rte 9. Have you ever wondered why the liquor stores on Rte 9 sell single cans and always have a paper bag at the ready?

As far as bringing the “dredges of society” to town? News flash people, illegal drug dealers don’t hang out around legal marijuana dispensaries. How many illegal bookmakers set up shop in Ceasers Palace?

61 Disappointed resident February 3, 2016 at 10:30 AM

So if we have drunk drivers and too many liquor stores on Rt 9 we shouldn’t care about adding a few “high” drivers? That’s a poor argument.

62 Steve February 3, 2016 at 1:39 PM

A DUI is a DUI regardless of the substance. If we are going to trust adults to not drink & drive then same courtesy should be extended to legal marijuana users. Bringing up the addition of impaired drivers to rte 9 because of a legal medical marijuana dispensary is the poor argument.

63 Kim February 3, 2016 at 6:35 PM

Southborough residents,
There are many concerns around the Medicinal Marijuana Dispensary and it’s location to a residential neighborhood and two schools. This business is mostly a cash business as one can’t charge marijuana on their credit card, as it’s an illegal substance in the eyes of the Federal government. This results in these business having very large amounts of cash on hand, often tens of thousands of dollars. With both the valuable substance of marijuana and cash these sites can easily be targets for robberies. The amount of security that is involved with the marijuana and the cash is pretty darn significant. I am pretty sure that there isn’t a person in Southborough that would want this business in their back yard. Again, the safety of the residents and the students is the concern here.

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