MA: Raynham Town Meeting Bans Recreational Pot Establishments

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
If commercial marijuana entrepreneurs had big plans for setting up shop in Raynham, they went up in smoke at the annual Town Meeting Monday night.

Selectman's Chairman Joe Pacheco said voters overwhelmingly approved changes to the town's general and zoning bylaws banning all types of marijuana establishments from town, including retailers, cultivators, testing facilities and product manufacturers.

Such a ban is allowed under the new law passed during November's elections that legalized marijuana for recreational use statewide.

Raynham rejected the question on November's ballot, with 51 percent voting it down.

The question did pass statewide, however, 53 percent to 46 percent, making Massachusetts one of eight states, along with Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, to have legalized the drug.

"Raynham didn't support it then, and the selectmen made a decision to put this on the warrant," Pacheco said. "It was overwhelmingly approved. We had only one 'No' vote."

Medical marijuana facilities are not affected by the bylaw changes. Those facilities are allowed by special permit on Route 44 heading toward Middleboro, Pacheco said.

Raynham is far from alone in taking preemptive action against the possibility of pot shops opening within its limits. Many towns across the state, including Stoughton to the north, have already passed or are considering similar bans.

Others, like West Bridgewater, have put into place or are considering temporary moratoriums on retail marijuana.

One town over, Bridgewater has decided to form a study committee to look at potential issues related to recreational pot. A group of residents in January halted a plan to amend the town's zoning bylaws to limit such establishments to the Elm Street industrial district, and talk at the time indicted some supported an outright ban.

State leaders have also begun to take action ahead of the start of legal marijuana sales.

On Beacon Hill, legislation was passed earlier this year to push back the day that retail sales could legally begin to July 1, 2018.

While marijuana is legal to possess, grow and use, it's still illegal to sell it. The state Department of Revenue has estimated pot sales could bring in about $132 million in tax revenue in their first year.

Pacheco said all of the other articles on the warrant passed.


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