At a zoning board meeting held last week in the Boston neighborhood of Back Bay, a man named Oliver Curme made his way to the audience podium and proceeded to give a short, brutal speech about medical marijuana patients that he deemed “undesirable elements” – like veterans with PTSD, people with disabilities and women suffering from breast cancer.
“For goodness sake, Newbury Street is our high end shopping district. We don’t want people like that scaring off the clientele,” he said at the end of his speech, as many in the room made their displeasure known.
Curme now says that the speech was satire – something that most people can see when first watching the video. It’s either satire, or a man completely devoid of not only compassion, but also of the common sense it takes to not say ridiculous things in public.
I applaud Curme on his satirical piece, but as he now acknowledges, some people didn’t get the point. This led to some backlash, especially after his speech went viral on the Internet. But when something reaches a wide, diverse audience – like a viral video will – there is going to be a certain percentage of viewers who simply don’t get the sarcasm and satire.
“The point that I was trying to make is a marijuana dispensary is going to bring in people who really need this – people who are sick, people who have cancer or some other thing, and this is the only choice for them,” Curme told NBC Boston.
“If you listen to what I said it was so over the top that I think it’s the only way (my comments) could have been construed.”
And from Curme’s perspective, that is the only way to take the comments. But other people don’t look at things from Curme’s perspective; they look at things from their own individual perspective. So it’s natural for some to take what he said at face value and be appalled by it.
In the end, the proposed dispensary zoning was approved unanimously by the board, and a story that is ultimately about the ignorance of those who oppose medical cannabis went viral. It exposed the ridiculous nature of claiming medical marijuana dispensaries are bad for neighborhoods and the harm that can be done to very sick people by restricting access to the medical cannabis they rely on.