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Ruminations

A crowded men's barbershop is a great place to catch up on local goings-on, and so last week I learned that a great Milford tradition is starting to die off. Simply put, there aren't enough bocce players any more to support some of the bocce ball courts in town.

Bocce evokes my childhood. I grew up in a mostly Italian immigrant neighborhood in New Jersey, and one of our neighbors – Alfredo Fanelli – would hold an annual summertime event.

After making his annual batch of homemade vino from his own grapes, Mr. Fanelli would invite the whole neighborhood over. While the adults sipped his vintage, the kids would play lawn bowling.

Later in life, while working for a Silicon Valley-based software company, I got to play bocce indoors at a club featuring courts with packed-down crushed oyster shells. That surface, as a barbershop companion told me, makes for a fast ball.

Most of the games played are at night, and the folks at the Italian Vets and Molinari's would welcome some younger players. It's a great opportunity for some fun and fellowship.

I don't understand the Zoning Board of Appeals turning down a medical marijuana treatment center's request to locate in the Milford Plaza, next to the Kohl's store. While all the board members said they were in favor of helping people with illnesses, they just didn't like the idea of the clinic going into a shopping plaza.

Natural Remedies' CEO Jeff Barton explained that the medicines to be prescribed are more tinctures and oils, so there is little chance of someone sitting in the parking lot and lighting up a joint – and thus corrupting the youth going to the nearby Papa Gino's restaurant, as ZBA members feared.

Frankly those ZBA members need a dose of reality. I have three sons in their 20s and – although they don't smoke weed – they tell me that pretty much everyone in their high schools did, and in their current age group, does. Being truthful, I tried marijuana twice in my youth and it didn't do anything for me, not even give me the "munchies."

Some readers might even think business at Papa Gino's, Panera Bread and Applebee's – all in Milford Plaza – might increase if there were a marijuana clinic near them. But, such clinics dispense medicine, not recreational drugs.

Attorney John Fernandes made a good point on behalf of Natural Remedies when he noted that pharmacies around town dispense far more powerful opiates with far less security while being located in retail areas and no one complains.

It's one thing to have a marijuana growing facility such as the one on Commercial Way located in an isolated area and surrounded by security cameras and fences. But, would any of us want our doctors' offices or pharmacies to be treated that way?

If it were up to me, I'd try to locate a medical marijuana treatment center as close to Milford Regional Medical Center and the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center as I could get it. Not out in the boonies.

By the way, I voted against the ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use and don't like the idea of "recreational" drugs. But my view on medicinal marijuana is quite different, especially after watching my cousin fight cancer.

Ironically, the ZBA's vote took place on April 20, with "4/20" known as "weed day" among marijuana users. Legend has it the numbers come from the time of day when some California youths would gather to smoke it.




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