We’d rather not: Americans like marijuana but don’t want a dispensary in their town

NBC News

Interviewed by NBC News for an article on the disparity in support between Americans who back the legalization of marijuana but who oppose dispensaries operating nearby, Luis provided insight into how Columbus and its local municipalities have reacted to opening dispensaries. The article looks at cannabis dispensaries across the country and cites a report that says dispensaries are disproportionately opening in lower-income areas.

From the article:

The study…found that due to fewer regulatory hurdles, low-income neighborhoods…housed a larger number of retail marijuana stores than wealthier ones.

The same situation is playing out in Columbus, Ohio. Luis M. Alcalde, an Ohio-based cannabis lawyer, has had difficulty helping his clients open stores in the suburbs of Columbus, forcing all of the five dispensaries that were approved to open in one general spot in the city.

“Every single suburb of Columbus put a moratorium in place,” said Alcalde. “As a result, all five dispensaries for central Ohio are in the city of Columbus. There’s not a single dispensary in any of the suburbs of Columbus because of that.”

Alcalde was also unable to lease space in a Columbus shopping center that was 50 percent vacant because the landlord couldn’t get comfortable with the fact that a cannabis dispensary was moving in.

“He would not lease to my client because he’s old school and he’s very biased against cannabis,” said Alcalde. “And here we were offering to build a really nice retail establishment that was going to generate a lot of foot traffic, but he wouldn’t budge.”

Read the full article here.