Hampden bans recreational marijuana facilities
At Wednesday’s special town meeting, Hampden voters approved a pair of articles to amend the town’s general and zoning bylaws to prohibit retail marijuana facilities from operating within Hampden’s borders.
Passage of the articles precluded the need for action on a related article calling for a moratorium on recreational pot, Town Clerk Eva Wiseman said Thursday.
Hampden’s rejection of retail weed means the town will lose out on a 3 percent local option tax. That tax is part of the state’s overall 17-20 percent taxation of recreational pot, which includes a sales tax and excise tax of 6.25 percent and 10.75 percent, respectively.
Although marijuana is a federally proscribed substance, quantities of medical and recreational pot are now legal in Massachusetts. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the country, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Recreational marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts after the passage of a state ballot initiative in November 2016. However, voters in Hampden, Wilbraham, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Agawam and West Springfield all voted against legalization.
Gov. Charlie Baker later signed a compromise bill involving the right of municipalities opposed to recreational pot to implement local bans by amending their general and zoning bylaws.
In other Hampden town meeting news, no action was taken on School Committee articles to allow Hampden students to cross town lines to attend Wilbraham schools, essentially rendering the articles null and void.
The committee asked Hampden officials to take “no action” on the articles due to “questions over their legitimacy,” Wiseman said.