August 15. 2018 10:10PM

The Heart of Nashua with Joan Stylianos: Nashua shares a border with the 'pot king', who knew?

By JOAN STYLIANOS


If you thought that Colorado was the pot capital of the nation after being the first state to legalize marijuana in 2014, think again. Our Bay State neighbors actually take top honors.

Massachusetts is now the pot king of the country, according to new numbers compiled in a state legislative report released to the public in July.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health conducted a statewide study and found that folks over the border really enjoy lighting up.

The state legislature there mandated the study that revealed that 21 percent of adults had smoked weed in the past 30 days, and the highest proportion of marijuana use was coming from 18-to-25 year-olds. This alarming tidbit surfaced also — 34 percent of smoking respondents said that they had driven a car while stoned.

Taking second place was Vermont, coming in at 18 percent of residents reporting the use of pot (Colorado, at 15 percent).

The Granite State is surrounded on all sides by three states where marijuana is now legal. Maine is the third toking state.

Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., with medical marijuana legal in 30 states. The “Mary Jane” train ain’t stoppin’ now despite efforts by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to slam the brakes on the exploding pot industry.

I never thought I would see a Republican governor from our state consider relaxing the cannabis laws, but Gov. Chris Sununu signed on when the House and Senate passed a bill that decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, making it a violation-level offense.

Sununu opposes legalizing recreational marijuana use and carefully chooses his words on the subject. This is what he said in an interview with WKXL radio last January:

“Are you kidding? We are in the middle of one of the biggest drug crises the state has ever seen,” he said. “To go to a full recreational marijuana when other states are seeing all the problems it has and issues it is bearing — it’s definitely not something I’m supportive of right now.”

Hmmm. “Right now.”

A majority of the public doesn’t think smoking a little weed is that bad. A 2017 Gallup poll showed that 64 percent of Americans support legalization.

I know where law enforcement stands on the issue. Nashua’s Police Chief Andrew Lavoie and I have talked about it a couple of times before. And he doesn’t see the sense in the governor’s “common sense” pot reform.

“It’s a slippery slope. What’s next? They’ll want to legalize it. It’s a bad message to send to the public and especially to young children,” Lavoie has said.

Nashua shares a border with Massachusetts. It is now legal to sell pot in that state, but no licenses have been issued to retail outlets ... yet.

Ms. Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at jtania512@gmail.com.