The Town of Mattapoisett on February 26 received a citizens’ petition containing 47 verified signatures proposing an all-out ban on registered marijuana dispensaries in Mattapoisett.
When a citizens’ petition is filed with the Town Clerk’s Office and at least ten of the signatures of registered voters are verified, an article can be placed on the next Annual Town Meeting warrant.
After the February 12 Special Town Meeting adoption of a moratorium for commercial and recreational adult-use marijuana dispensaries and establishments, Mattapoisett’s Planning Board was set to begin the process of addressing what sort of language zoning bylaws might contain while also soliciting public input through their regularly scheduled public meetings. But as Planning Board Administrator Mary Crain told The Wanderer on March 5, “We’ve suspended any further work until our April 2 public meeting.”
Crain said that with the submission of the citizens’ petition, undertaken by resident George Randall, the Planning Board will present that for public discourse at the April 2 meeting. She said if the public appears to support a town-wide ban on registered marijuana dispensaries, the Planning Board would not, at this time, craft bylaws. Crain said the board would still craft bylaws for medical marijuana establishments and that would be brought up during the meeting.
Town Administrator Michael Gagne said on March 5, “We’ll gauge public opinion.… There was no point in the Planning Board doing a lot of work [on bylaws] if they didn’t have to.”
Gagne said the Planning Board will still have to look at the medical marijuana issue. He also said that during the upcoming Annual Town Meeting in May, town counsel will be present to address any specific questions that may arise around the discussion of marijuana as a whole.
It is important to note that because Mattapoisett in November 2016 voted against Question 4 to legalize recreational marijuana use, the Town has the option of banning recreational marijuana establishments in town via a Town Meeting majority vote.
It is also important to note that the personal adult recreational use would not be affected by a ban on commercial sales, and the private home cultivation of marijuana (six plants per adult in the residence) would also likely not be affected.
The Cannabis Control Commission will approve and release its final recreational marijuana regulations by March 15 and begin accepting applications for licenses of recreational use registered marijuana dispensaries on April 1.
By Marilou Newell and Jean Perry