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Community Forum: Weed is Here. Now What?
02:50PM / Thursday, March 07, 2019
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A community forum is being held to discuss the wide-ranging implications of the legal sale of marijuana for recreational purposes on Wednesday, March 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.
Community leaders representing law enforcement, youth services, local government and the drug treatment community will discuss the changing landscape of marijuana's place in Southern Berkshire County with an extended question-and-answer period from the audience. 
"The goal is to learn about what the changes in the laws are and how they are being enforced, and to start to understand how it impacts our community," said Erik Bruun, co-chairman of the South Berkshire Community Health Coalition, which is sponsoring the event with the Railroad Street Youth Project and The Berkshire Edge. "This is a complicated topic. Before you could go to jail for two years if you sold marijuana in downtown Great Barrington, and maybe you still can if you don't have a license.
"Today selling marijuana represents tax revenue for the town. It is the hottest sector in the Berkshire economy. Off-duty police officers are paid to make sure customers are safe as they stay in line to purchase recreational pot. What are the new guardrails? What does it mean for who we are as a community?"
Panelists will include Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington, Great Barrington Selectman Ed Abrahams, RSYP Deputy Director Chris Tucci, Center for Motivation and Change Clinical Director Dr. David Lane, and representatives from the Great Barrington and Sheffield police departments. RSYP Executive Director Ananda Timpane will be the moderator. 
The event is part of a series of forums and events initiated by the coalition and RSYP to inform and support parents on the challenges of helping their children navigate issues related to substance use and other risky behaviors. 
The next event will be "Good Science for Good Parenting" on how to use science to talk to teenagers about drugs and alcohol on April 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Berkshire South Regional Community Center.  
Railroad Street Youth Project is home to the South Berkshire Community Health Coalition, made up of community agencies including RSYP, the Southern Berkshire and Berkshire Hills regional school districts, state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli's office, Multicultural BRIDGE, Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Coalition/Berkshire Regional Planning Agency, The Brien Center, the Police Departments of Great Barrington, Sheffield, Egremont and Stockbridge, Fairview Hospital, Berkshire South Community Center, and the towns of Great Barrington, Egremont, Stockbridge and Sheffield.
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