RE “OVERRUN by liquor stores, debris, he’d welcome marijuana dispensary instead” (Letters, Feb. 18):
I don’t share letter-writer Andrew Padua’s lack of concern over the future existence of marijuana dispensaries in our neighborhoods.
But regarding his obversations about the problems stemming from the large number of liquor stores in Dorchester, I do want to share research recently published in the American Journal of Public Health showing that areas of Boston with the highest levels of violent crimes had greater numbers of alcohol outlets. Padua and I both live in Dorchester, and I understand entirely where he is coming from with his frustrations over the problems associated with what seems like a liquor store on almost every corner.
My job at the Boston Medical Center entails studying, under a federal grant, the efficacy of alcohol policies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended limiting the number of alcohol outlets as a means of reducing alcohol problems, and the 21st Amendment to the Constitution gives states the right to protect public health by regulating alcohol. Yet our community is still overrun by liquor stores.
What I hope for most about the regulation of the new marijuana dispensaries authorized by last year’s referendum is that our policymakers prioritize the public’s health and welfare above the wishes of marijuana business leaders.