MA: Weymouth Council Bans Recreational Marijuana Production, Sales

Photo Credit: Detroit Free Press

The production and retail sale of recreational marijuana has been banned in the town by a unanimous vote by the town council.

The only discussion at Monday night’s council meeting was Town Councilor Kenneth DiFazio, the chairman of the ordinance committee, reading the proposed measure, which prohibits “all types of non-medical marijuana facilities.”

DiFazio said after the meeting the issue can always be revisited, at the request of Mayor Robert Hedlund, the council or a citizen petition.

“Let’s see how this goes in other towns that allow it,” DiFazio said. “It doesn’t have to be the last word.”

DiFazio noted that the town’s health board supported the ban, as did the planning board. And, he noted that the state board overseeing the marijuana industry has not yet approved its final regulations.

The measure does not apply to medical marijuana.

A statewide referendum in 2016 permitted recreational marijuana sales to those 21 and older beginning on July 1. Weymouth voters opposed legalizing recreational marijuana by a narrow margin, with 14,755 opposed and 14,624 in favor.

The state will start accepting applications for retail marijuana stores on April 1.

The council and the planning board held a public hearing Feb. 20 on the proposed ban. More than a dozen residents spoke at the hearing.

Opponents said the town would miss out on potential revenue by banning recreational marijuana, money which would go to other communities. Proponents of the ban said the money isn’t worth the negative impacts marijuana would have on the town.

Gary MacDougall told the public hearing that the town would miss out on the opportunity to attract new businesses.

Mary Jordan-Roy said at the hearing there are too many outstanding questions and concerns on recreational marijuana, including the impact of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to repeal the Cole memo, which urged federal prosecutors not to interfere in states that legalize cannabis.

In other area communities, Milton has already approved a ban on marijuana facilities. Braintree has been studying the issue for months, and the planning board is scheduled to meet Thursday night to discuss an overall ban on marijuana sales and production in the town. The city council in Quincy has not yet voted on any marijuana regulations.

Hull voters will go to the polls on Monday to decide on two measures that would ban marijuana sales and production, and the issue is set to go before the Hingham town meeting next month.

A published report on Saturday found more than half of the state’s municipalities have enacted prohibitions on recreational marijuana.