To the Editor:
Recently the Princeton Cannabis Task Force (CTF) issued a detailed report which recommends up to three recreational dispensaries in town. This newspaper has received many letters from outraged citizens, and I would like to add my outraged voice about a related issue: the proliferation of retail alcohol dispensaries downtown.
Many letter-writers outraged by the proposal for retail cannabis dispensaries cite concerns which apply equally to the numerous retail alcohol dispensaries in town – not to mention the perhaps hundreds of retail consumption locations, and the fact that Princeton has no limit on the number of “club licenses,” which means that these could literally be located on every street in town, and even inside schools, child care centers, and houses of worship, some of which already distribute alcohol as part of their rituals, if I am not mistaken.
Letters have also discussed the cost for communities in hosting cannabis dispensaries. Well, take a look at the cost of alcohol. According to the CDC, in New Jersey excessive alcohol use cost the state more than $6 billion in 2010. That’s billion with a B, like the TV show. The cost that these letter writers cite for cannabis dispensaries is chump change by comparison. Plus, these costs were for before COVID came along and we all started drinking more heavily.
Next, people opposed to retail cannabis bring up parking and sustainability. How many of you reading this right now have driven to a restaurant in town and “enjoyed” a drink with your meal? Or if it’s a BYOB restaurant, bought a bottle of wine from a nearby alcohol dispensary? And where parking is horrible and will get worse if the town decides to let employees park wherever they want on our residential “tree” streets. And those streets won’t be treed for long after drunk drivers plow them down. Where’s the sustainability in that? more