West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt vetoes Town Council's ban on recreational marijuana
WEST SPRINGFIELD — Mayor William C. Reichelt has vetoed the Town Council’s ban on recreational marijuana, breathing new life into the possibility of commercial pot facilities opening in West Springfield.
“This is my first veto after 2 1/2 years as your mayor,” said Reichelt, who posted a Facebook video on Friday showing him signing the order to prevent the ban from taking effect.
On June 4, the Town Council voted 8-1 to ban commercial marijuana in West Side, whose citizens rejected the legalization of recreational pot in a 2016 state ballot vote.
But the issue is no longer about legalizing pot — now legal for medical and recreational use and for commercial production and sale in Massachusetts — but rather about sharing a percentage of the profits from recreational marijuana, according to the mayor, who promoted the financial benefits in the weeks leading up to the council’s vote.
Now, the mayor has rejected the council’s rejection, so to speak, hoping to join the dozens of other Massachusetts communities that will benefit from the 6 percent of gross sales that commercial pot retailers are expected to pay to cities and towns that host retail, manufacturing or cultivation facilities.
Reichelt’s veto means the issue will be sent back to the council, which can override the mayor’s action with a two-thirds vote.
“I disagree with the Town Council’s decision to ban all businesses related to commercial marijuana without first properly investigating the impact such a ban will have on our community,” Reichelt said in a June 22 letter to councilors.
Some councilors had requested study sessions and more data to better understand the issue, “but they were ignored,” the mayor said, adding that the council “seemingly rested its decision” on local voters’ rejection of the state ballot vote that legalized recreational pot.
“While the town voted against legalization (6,339 to 5,813), the state voted in favor and the adult use of marijuana is now legal in