Mansfield town meeting to take up marijuana issue
MANSFIELD — Whatever else voters may debate at the May 15 annual town meeting, there seems likely to be plenty of talk about marijuana.
Since the state legalized recreational as well as medical forms of marijuana, citizens and town officials have been exploring various ways of accommodating retail cultivation and sale of the drug. The town has already approved a medical marijuana facility, however that project has been held up by an appeal.
On May 15, voters will get a chance to vote on articles that would establish overlay districts within the town where recreational marijuana cultivation and retail sale would be allowed.
At the same time, two petition articles brought by citizens would prohibit any form of recreational marijuana businesses in town. The proposals would not affect medical marijuana uses or have any impact on personal use or cultivation of marijuana.
Under state law, Mansfield would be limited to a single recreational marijuana cultivation and one recreational marijuana retail location.
Massachusetts voters approved legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016. The referendum passed by a small majority in Mansfield.
However, a state commission took until earlier this month to recommend final rules for cultivation and sale. Actual retail and growing operations are expected to begin later this year.
Mansfield, as well as many other Massachusetts communities, imposed a moratorium on such businesses until rules were clarified. Town officials earlier this year discussed the possibility of extending the moratorium, which is due to expire in November, if needed.
One town meeting proposal brought forth by the planning board would amend the zoning bylaw to create a marijuana cultivation overlay district in the planned business zoning district along Route 140 in the southwest of town including the Forbes Boulevard and Plymouth Street areas.