On the surface, it does seem kind of ... what's the word ... unwise, to put a medical marijuana dispensary in the middle of a city on the edge of a tough neighborhood near a college.
It's just inviting people to break into the place. Union College students will hanging out there. And how safe will people be walking to their cars from a place that screams, "Mug me; I've got pot!"
You'd think all that about the proposed location of a medical marijuana dispensary in the old Bank of America branch at Nott Street and Van Vranken Avenue.
And you'd be wrong.
First off, let's get the Cheech and Chong aspect of this place out of your head. This isn't that kind of marijuana. People won't be walking out with bags of weed that they'll either be mugged for or try to sell to a guy in an alley. There'll be no pot plants growing in the back room of the place. In fact, there won't be any plant matter in it at all, except maybe a fern in the lobby.
New York's newly enacted medical marijuana law specifically stipulates that the drug will not be distributed in a form that one can smoke. Instead, the plant will be processed at another location into either a pill, a wax, or a small bottle of liquid like the one shown above. People will be able to walk out with a limit of 2 ounces of the fluid.
And as for getting high from the pills or liquids, that might be difficult. Some popular forms of the condensed medical marijuana, such as one extracted from a strain called "Charlotte's Web," contain very little THC, the chemical that gets you high. But it will help you if you get seizures from a rare form of epilepsy.
The second concern people might have about the location is security. Again, not much of a factor. The facility will be housed in an old bank. Banks tend to be fortified against break-ins. Also, the dispensary will be protected by an armed security force. You won't even be able to get through the door without a medical marijuana card and proper identification.
The medical marijuana dispensary will be tempting to thieves, robbers and druggies in name only. In essence, it's not much different than any other corner pharmacy.
Given the facts, the community has nothing to get worked up about.