Selectmen vote against recommending marijuana articles
By Paul Gately
After nearly an hour of discussion March 20, Bourne selectmen unanimously voted not to support a ban on recreational marijuana sales in town and associated zoning controls, both of which will appear on the March 26 emergency Town Meeting warrant.
The board earlier this month voted 3-0 to call for a special session, and for nearly three weeks avoided any vote to support the articles. However,¬¬¬¬ members agreed they would sponsor them.
In the interim, the board cited shifting legal sentiment about the town’s existing marijuana ban, which was very narrowly approved at November 2016 ballot.
In recent weeks, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission indicated the ban might not hold up beyond April 1, and that towns would have to accommodate license requests from business people looking to set up shop in the commercial marijuana industry.
Then the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office said the November ballot vote and subsequent ban would indeed remain in effect until at least June 2018, and that it could ultimately carry over to 2019.
Selectmen on Tuesday night agreed with emerging community sentiment that the Town Meeting decision was rushed at the very least, and did not carry with it any board effort to learn from townspeople what they think about marijuana sales, and the potential for those sales to go to another town if a ban is approved.
“This, procedurally speaking, has been a cluster from the get-go,” Selectman Donald Pickard said. “The ball has been dropped, perhaps by this board, perhaps by the town administrator. It doesn’t matter at this point. But we owe it to the taxpayers we serve to identify the pros and cons on this issue and get it done the right way.”
Selectmen Chairman George Slade also articulated frustration in dealing with what appear to be