On Monday, an emergency town hall meeting in the small town of Leicester, Massachusetts mirrored the mayhem on the streets of the town. Dozens of town residents excoriated elected officials, reported the Boston Globe, over traffic caused by Cultivate, one of just two recreational marijuana stores currently open on the east coast. Both stores opened the previous Tuesday in Massachusetts following recreational marijuana legalization in the state.
Their complaints included long traffic lines, blocked off streets and detours, pedestrians off sidewalks, litter, public urination, aggressive shuttle bus drivers taking patrons to and from a nearby parking lot and, unsurprisingly, marijuana consumption.
“This has been terrible,” Dawn Gauthier, a Leicester resident, testified at the meeting. “We have cars outside of our house seven days a week, 12 hours a day. We have no life there anymore. It’s like living in a fishbowl. . . . It’s not fair.”
However, by Tuesday the Leicester police department and Cultivate had assured residents that they had solved the traffic problem, for now, reported the Boston Business Journal. The Journal said Cultivate had added 70 spaces to the 100 that are already there and hired a police officer to direct the traffic on the street. The parking lot also opened earlier on Tuesday to cut down on the line of traffic, which Leicester police chief Jim Hurley said was now ending a quarter of a mile closer, in front of a nearby nursery.
“It’s not perfect, but it’s much better in my opinion,” Hurley said. “And with the opening of the new additional spots we’re able to handle the traffic coming in so it hasn’t backed up to Route 9 yet. When the residents got up this morning, there weren’t cars in front of their house and blocking their driveways,” Hurley said. “That to me was important.”