BOSTON (CBS) – A man’s comments at a public hearing about a proposed medical marijuana dispensary on Newbury Street have shocked people on both sides of the issue.
During a hearing for the Zoning Board of Appeals, Back Bay resident Oliver Curme stepped to the microphone to speak out against the proposal. His reasons, however, stunned many in attendance.
“All my friends and I are against this because it’ll bring undesirable elements into the neighborhood,” Curme told the room. “Just so you know what I mean, there are army vets with PTSD. We don’t want them in our neighborhood. Just give me a break. They can get over it.”
Curme’s comments did not stop there.
“The second thing is people with wheelchairs, M.S. or whatever,” Curme said, making a gesture with his hand. “Well the third one is women with breast cancer. They all have that cadaver look and they wear those ridiculous turbans. Newbury Street is a high-end shopping district. We don’t want people like that scaring off our clientele.”
A board member cut off Curme, saying “We got your message loud and clear.”
WBZ-TV attempted to ask Curme about his comments. He was not available at the time, but his wife said Curme is in support of the dispensary and his comments were satirical.
Will Luzier, who worked to get the recreational marijuana bill passed in Massachusetts, could be seen in the background of the meeting video shaking his head in disbelief.
“There was a gentleman who stood up and said some outrageous things. There’s a whole range of opposition to marijuana establishments. But this is the most extreme that I have ever heard,” Luzier told WBZ-TV. “I was appalled. Just disgusted.”
Larry DiCara, a lawyer for Nixon Peabody, represents the Neighborhood Association, which opposes the dispensary. DiCara spoke immediately after Curme, who he says jumped the line to make his questionable remarks.
He said he couldn’t believe Curme’s comments, and said they took away from those with legitimate opinions on the subject.
“I’m a zoning lawyer. I’ve appeared in front of that board over 1,000 times. I’ve been in and out of that room for over 45 years. I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said DiCara.
DiCara said the comments were so extreme that someone he spoke to at the meeting questioned if Curme was a paid actor.
“I don’t know the man. If I never see him again, that’s just OK,” DiCara said.
Watch Oliver Curme’s comments to the Zoning Board