Neighbors voice traffic concerns stemming from dispensary expansion

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WLNE) — As the recreational sale of marijuana is now legal in Rhode Island, some are concerned the increased traffic at dispensaries will directly affect them.

Arlene and Theresa both live on John Street in Portsmouth. Both of their homes are steps away from the Greenleaf Compassion Care Center off of West Main Road.

The Greenleaf Care Center opened in 2009 as a medical marijuana shop — but has expanded into recreational sales as of Thursday.

“It’s only going to increase the problems we already have on this street,” said Theresa. “[Greenleaf] have been very nice. We’ve never had a problem with them. But it shouldn’t be at a dead-end street.”

Arlene says increased traffic on her road and surrounding streets has been an issue since 2009.

“It’s tied up traffic terribly,” she explained. “They drive on our lawns; they don’t respect our property. I’ve almost been hit a couple times waiting to pull out… I’ve had trouble pulling in from W Main Rd. A lot of my friends are fearful about coming here with all the traffic.”

The store’s Chief of Staffing, Teddy Newcome, said they have worked with both the neighbors and police to assure this issue does not grow.

He told ABC 6 News, “We had a detail this afternoon. We’re pretty good with all of our neighbors, and they help us out when we need parking days. We’re neighbors, we have to treat it as our neighborhood.”

Greenleaf is one of five compassion centers that have expanded into recreational sales from just medical sales Thursday.

Portsmouth police said they saw no issues on the roads of West Main Road or John Street Thursday.

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