State Officials Issue Reminder About Intoxicate Driving Ahead of 4/20

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The first "4/20" day with open recreational marijuana dispensaries has prompted a warning from the state Cannabis Control Commission to relax, take it easy, man.
April 20, 4/20, has become somewhat of a holiday among marijuana users and in states that legalized recreational use prior, rallies and events were held to commemorate the day. Locally, three recreational shops have opened and are planning specials and entertainment. 
The Cannabis Control Commission, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Massachusetts Major City Police Chiefs Association, the Commonwealth Dispensary Association, and the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association released a warning on Thursday, reminding people not to drive after partaking.
"If you're going to use cannabis as part of April 20 or at any other time, please make sure to plan ahead for a safe ride home," said Massachusetts Highway Safety Director Jeff Larason. "Cannabis causes driving impairment. Remember: if you feel different, you drive different."
The warning reminds residents that use and possession are still illegal for those under the age of 21 and that giving or selling to minors is a crime. Consuming cannabis in a public places is prohibited, cannabis can't be carried over state lines, and a retailer cannot sell more than an ounce of pot or five grams of concentrate to one individual.
"The commission continues to rely on both marijuana establishments and patrons to set the tone for responsible consumption, which starts with knowing the Massachusetts law and never, ever getting behind the wheel while impaired," Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said. "Any celebratory occasion only underscores those expectations, and we trust the adult-use cannabis community to act accordingly."
The release encourages individuals to use ridesharing or public transportation. 
"While regulated marijuana consumption is now legal, impaired driving is not," said Chief Mark K. Leahy, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. "Please be responsible and consider using a designated driver or a ride share service to get home safely."
Locally, Theory Wellness in Great Barrington will be having giveaways of gift certificates to local businesses and is bringing a food truck to the site. The dispensary was the first to open in Berkshire County and expects to see a lot of business. Berkshire Roots in Pittsfield is planning a market showcasing local vendors and live music. Temescal Wellness in Pittsfield is offering discounts on accessories.
"As retailers gear up for a busy weekend, our members recognize that public health and safety starts with us," said David O'Brien, CEO and President of the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association. 
"Whether customers will come to commemorate their first April 20 with legal sales in our state — or make their first purchase ever — marijuana establishments are committed to ensuring they know their responsibilities from point of sale to their commute home."

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Berkshire County Kids' Place Gala Celebrates Courage

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Michael Supranowicz was presented with the Founders Award. He was president of the Kids' Place board for two years and retired from Hillcrest Educational Centers. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The "Wizard of Oz's" the Cowardly Lion finds his courage by facing his fears with the help of his friends. 
"Like the Lion, many children just need someone to help them realize that the courage they need to heal from the abuse they have suffered is already inside of them," said Rosemarie  Phelps, chairman of the Berkshire County Kids' Place Board of Directors. "For 26 years, the Kids' Place has helped lead these children and their families down the path to recovery."
The path on Friday night was a yellow brick road to "A Night in the Emerald City," the theme for these year's fundraising gala for the nonprofit that was held at Country Club of Pittsfield. Phelps donned a purple witch's hat to welcome guests to the event that also included recognition of several individuals for their work for Kids' Place. 
Berkshire County Kids' Place has been providing a safe and healing place for abused children for more than a quarter century. The agency is funded through the state Department of Children and Families, grants and donations. It works closely with related agencies and the Berkshire County district attorney's office to serve the more than 400 children that pass through its doors each year. 
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