Editorial: Mansfield risks allowing tax money to go up in smoke
Three area towns, and possibly a fourth, are letting money go up in smoke.
Mansfield voters at the May 15 town meeting will be asked to ban retail sale, cultivation and other business uses of marijuana in town. The ban would become effective if approved by voters at a subsequent referendum.
If eventually approved, Mansfield would join Foxboro, Norfolk and Wrentham in banning marijuana businesses in town. Roughly one out of six communities in Massachusetts — 59 of 351 — have indefinite bans on pot businesses, according to various reports.
This is despite the fact that 54 percent of Bay State voters supported the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016.
Marijuana is bought, sold and consumed every day in Massachusetts — probably in all 351 cities and towns. Those voters who backed legalization realized that it’s far smarter and safer to have licensed dealers selling regulated recreational drugs than black market criminals.
The demand for marijuana is why many entrepreneurs are trying to establish a foothold in the emerging market on July 1, the date when cannabis sales are set to become legal in Massachusetts.
It’s also a revenue opportunity for Bay State municipalities, which can add a local sales tax on marijuana. Both candidates for Attleboro mayor in last fall’s election, incumbent Kevin Dumas and eventual winner Paul Heroux, recognized this and supported the licensing of cannabis businesses in the city.
Foxboro, Norfolk and Wrentham have apparently shunned those additional funds and played toward old fears about the drug.
We hope voters in Mansfield, who narrowly supported legalizing recreational marijuana in 2016, will not do the same.
At that town meeting, voters will decide petition articles that would ban retail sale, cultivation and other business uses of marijuana in town, the first