MA: Kingston Town Meeting Voters Want Recreational Marijuana Establishments In Town

Photo Credit: Chris Roussakis

Recreational marijuana establishments will be allowed in Kingston after Town Meeting voters twice rejected proposals to ban them.

Also, the penalty for marijuana use in all public places in Kingston will be the same as the penalty for public consumption of alcohol.

Amending the town’s general bylaws would have banned public consumption of alcohol and prohibited marijuana establishments, but Winter Street resident Dennis Randall’s proposal that the same rules that apply to marijuana apply to alcohol replaced that proposal. The vote to amend was 117-38.

South Street resident Robert Kostka argued for allowing recreational marijuana establishments in town so Kingston can get the tax revenue and not another town that allows them.

“They will pay the tax to that town instead of Kingston,” he said. “If they get the munchies, they will buy their pizza and chips in that town.”

A subsequent vote to amend the town’s zoning bylaw to ban recreational marijuana establishments was rejected by voters. While there were 90 votes in favor of the ban and 79 opposed, 113 votes were needed to approve the prohibition by the required two-thirds vote.

Voters made several other significant decisions at the reconvened session of Town Meeting Thursday night. Another one included amending the wage and personnel bylaw with the goal of retaining town employees in Kingston. That passed by a vote of 113-79.

Voters narrowing agreed to spend $25,000 in Community Preservation Act funding to hire a consultant to update Kingston’s affordable housing plan. That vote was close at 99-89.

Even more controversial was the vote 130-62 vote to appropriate $125,000 in CPA funding to contribute toward the purchase of the historic Stephen Drew house by the Jones River Landing Environmental Heritage Center, a nonprofit membership organization.

A chorus of boos followed that vote, with many voters having objected to using public funds for a private purchase.

Loud applause followed the last vote of the night for the town to exercise its right of first refusal and purchase land owned by Virginia Davis for $725,000 rather than allow her to sell it to a developer as planned. No hand count was required this time.

Town Meeting will continue at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, in the Kingston Intermediate School auditorium.