We are lifetime residents of the Ridgewood/Glendale/Middle Village community, currently living on 74th Street, Middle Village, for 34 years. We attended the Community Board 5 Meeting Wednesday, June 14. We have concerns regarding the proposed adult-use cannabis dispensary at 74-03 Metropolitan Avenue and the intent to file for that application.

The gentleman gave a lengthy presentation; mentioning his service to our country, which is honorable, and we all appreciate that sacrifice. Regardless of that service he is now a salesman, and the bottom line is he wants to make a profit. There are quite a few things he covered during his sales pitch, none of which we feel adds any value to our community. Here are some of our concerns:

– He aims to have approximately 40 employees, @ $40/hr, plus benefits; based on a 35 hr week that’s $1400 per person, totaling $2,912,000 a year in payroll ex- penses ALONE…how much does he have to sell to cover just this expense???

– Delivery will be offered – how do you know who’s in that household at that time? A group of teens? How do you control or use discernment in such a situation? Plus, let’s just encourage people to sit at home and get high. Sounds like a very productive lifestyle. You can get your weed delivered and then call UberEats when the munchies hit.

– Plans on having the windows blacked- out (not very appealing), yet huge CANNABIS HOUSE signage that can’t be missed. Let me just point out the word HOUSE…think about that.

– Plans on providing security. Exactly what is that going to accomplish? Seriously, these days our own police have been stripped of their authority. His security can’t keep people from hanging out on Metropolitan Avenue, in front of other stores, or along 74th Street in front of resident’s properties or even sitting on our stoops. This will have a negative impact on whatever shops are left on Metropolitan Avenue.
– 74th Street already deals with heavy traffic as it’s a main street leading right up to Metropolitan Avenue. Customers of such a place will be parking (and double-parking) on our street and more than likely sitting in their cars getting high in front of our homes and our children. We are also sure that the proximity of Juniper Valley Park will be extremely appealing for those to head there and get high as well. There goes the quality of life and safety of Juniper Valley Park. This will then put a strain on our local police.

– This location is close to numerous K-8 schools and along the path for high school students either by foot or by bus. In addition, it’s within walking distance of a homeless shelter that houses 200 homeless men, which we understand have criminal backgrounds. Many senior citizens rely on the shopping they are able to do on the avenue. Most visit on foot with their shopping carts. They are a vulnerable part of this community and, so far, we have been able to provide them with peace of mind and ease visiting the stores that provide groceries and various items.

Selling marijuana (cannabis) legally from a fancy store does not negate the fact it is a gateway drug. We do not support such a business that does not add any value to being a productive member of society. It is known that there are long-term effects of marijuana use, and the damage is permanent, irreversible. Marijuana use affects our brain cells and neurotransmitters. There are 2 organs in our body that once dam- aged and compromised, are unable to rejuvenate…that is the heart and THE BRAIN. States that have legalized recreational marijuana usage have seen increases in: marijuana-related hospitalizations, ER visits, poison control calls, DUIS, and fatal crashes where drivers test positive for cannabinoids.

Approving the plans for this site would be the catalyst that marks the official transformation of Middle Village and nearby neighborhoods. Once this takes place, there will be no turning back, no restoring the quality of life and values that have been the foundation of our community for decades.

The presentation at the meeting may have appeared full of facts and appealing explanations. However, let us leave you with this last thought…look up snake oil salesman.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter..

Martin, Bonnie, and Jenna Piller
Middle Village