Riversiders needs to be clear on cannabis impact

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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Now that the Riverside Village Board has voted to allow a recreational marijuana store in town, they have some work to do. I personally am ambivalent about it, and to a greater extent I feel a bit hypocritical. I want legalized pot, I am not sure it is good for Riverside to allow sales of it. 

President Sells indicated at the board meeting that the information has been public for several months, and that it is a vocal minority opposing it on emotional grounds and not using scientific arguments. 

That is a little unfair, given how many of us grew up be taught that pot was a dangerous illicit drug. Just because it has been on the board agenda, and in articles in the RB Landmark, does not ensure that the public is fully informed. 

With an issue as important as this, the public needs to be more informed. I did not know that the topic has been addressed by various committees and watching the board meeting last week was the first I heard that. Trustees Jisa and Peters were correct in saying that the board needs to do more to educate the community. A town hall meeting is a good idea, but may not be enough. 

 The work the board needs to do now is explain to the residents what the reality is going to be. They say the sales of legal recreational marijuana is highly regulated – what does that mean specifically? What are the regulations and how will they be implemented and monitored and enforced here? Are there regulations the village have increased, or waived? Why? 

How will residents near a marijuana store have their concerns addressed? If it is at the old TitleMax location, will the village put in a cul-de-sac, as the residents on Berkeley have requested? Be specific. 

The proponents of marijuana sales explain that it is for revenue. How much revenue? How is that calculated? How will accounting happen in a cash only business? Would there be tax breaks for the store? What will the revenue to go, and how will increased policing be offset? Given that drunk driving is a big concern, how will drugged driving be addressed? How will the village ensure that is stays out of the hands of kids? 

The Riverside trustees really do need to ensure that the community concerns are addressed thoroughly, or this will continue to cause anger and frustration. 

Jim Raffensperger


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Michael Milburn from Newton  

Posted: September 11th, 2019 9:31 AM

No one should drive impaired, but actual impairment should be measured. We need a paradigm shift in our thinking about impairment testing. Please see: https://www.courant.com/health/hc-pol-drugged-driving-experts-20190215-ofk72j2kebe7be5w3flho55cp4-story.html I have developed a new public health app that is an objective measure of impairment from cannabis or any source--anything that impairs reaction time, hand-eye coordination, balance and the ability to perform divided attention tasks--it is called DRUID (an acronym for "DRiving Under the Influence of Drugs") available now in the App Store and in Google Play. DRUID statistically integrates hundreds of data points into an overall impairment score and takes just 2 minutes. The first peer-reviewed journal article validating DRUID is here (http://pubs.covd.org/VDR/issue5-1/index.html) DRUID was featured on the PBS News Hour (https://youtu.be/U_uq_9_M80E?t=10m9s) and in Wired magazine: https://www.wired.com/story/portable-field-sobriety-tests/ Cannabis researchers at Yale, Johns Hopkins, WSU and UC Boulder are using DRUID in their labs. Preliminary research at Johns Hopkins shows that DRUID can distinguish different levels of impairment from different levels of THC consumed (0mg, 5mg, 20mg). This recent report from the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College lists DRUID as the only objective measure of impairment for the roadside: https://thecrimereport.org/2018/11/21/do-we-need-roadside-marijuana-tests/ Our website is www.druidapp.com DRUID allows cannabis users (or others who drink alcohol, use prescription drugs, etc.) to self-assess their own level of impairment and (hopefully) decide against driving if they are impaired. Prior to DRUID, there was no way for an individual to accurately assess their own level of impairment. After obtaining my Ph.D. at Harvard, I have been a professor of psychology at UMass/Boston for the past 40 years, specializing in research methods and statistics.

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