Prospects for fam­ily fun on Com­mon go up in smoke

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

The city of Bos­ton is send­ing a strong mes­sage and smell to lo­cal fam­i­lies: you’re not wel­come on the Com­mon this week­end while thou­sands of pot­heads gather to­gether to toke up en masse dur­ing the Hub’s an­nual weed fes­ti­val.

Of course, lo­cal cannabis lovers would pre­fer we call it the 28th an­nual “Bos­ton Free­dom Rally.”

Lit­tle kids whose par­ents will take them out for a fam­ily day trip this week­end to en­joy the Com­mon carousel or Frog Pond play­ground will prob­a­bly add “con­tact high” to their list of fond mem­o­ries from a day spent vis­it­ing the city with their folks. And con­sid­er­ing this is one of the last warm week­ends of the year, it’s a real shame that many par­ents find them­selves forced to avoid the area al­to­gether.

What’s more dis­turb­ing is the pot-smok­ing free-for-all is tak­ing place just days af­ter po­lice of­fi­cials vowed to crack down on drug use — in­clud­ing marijuana — on the Com­mon. Despite their tough talk, which came on the heels of a brazen day­light shoot­ing near the Park­man Band­stand Tuesday, thou­sands of weed afi­ciona­dos were out there smok­ing joints and puff­ing on bowls as par­ents, chil­dren and tourists looked on in dis­be­lief.

Just be­cause Bay State vot­ers le­gal­ized pot for recre­ational use doesn’t mean you should have to in­hale it on ev­ery street corner and pub­lic space. Like drink­ing al­co­hol, it’s still very much il­le­gal to smoke marijuana in pub­lic — though the fes­ti­val­go­ers who gath­ered yes­ter­day didn’t seem to get the memo.

Lo­cal of­fi­cials can’t pre­tend to care about the next gen­er­a­tion while turn­ing a blind eye to the fact that the air on the Com­mon is filled with pot smoke.

And be­fore pot shops start pop­ping up around the city, our law­mak­ers need to drop this lais­sez-faire at­ti­tude and con­demn smok­ing weed in pub­lic.

This week­end’s rally is a perfect op­por­tu­nity for our lo­cal law en­force­ment to make good on their vow to take a hard-line stance on the drug deal­ing, drug use and the all-too-com­mon sight of ad­dicts ei­ther un­der the in­flu­ence or passed out as lit­tle kids pass by on their scoot­ers.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who was in­fu­ri­ated by the pos­si­bil­ity that a by­stander could have been hit by a stray bul­let Tuesday night, has promised to make a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar ren­o­va­tion to the area next year. But it’s clear of­fi­cials need to im­prove the cul­ture of the pub­lic park be­fore mak­ing cos­metic changes.

New benches and play­grounds won’t make a dif­fer­ence if our kids are shar­ing the new seats with a guy puff­ing on his va­por­izer in pub­lic.

The fes­ti­val was yet an­other re­minder that pro­vid­ing safe and healthy en­vi­ron­ments for fam­i­lies is not the city’s top pri­or­ity.

Walsh was com­pletely against the bal­lot ques­tion le­gal­iz­ing pot and just be­cause it passed doesn’t mean pot­heads can break the law.

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