In consideration of municipal zoning of marijuana uses.

Why We Opt-Out — The Emerging Narrative on Community Marijuana Opt-Outs

Marijuana commercialization disguised as compassion
Under the guise of compassion and rights lurks an industry bent on creating a market of lifetime users.

It’s time to take our communities back from the national pot lobby.

“Opting Out on marijuana profiteering is really Opting In to Community Health and Wellness” 

Important local messaging:

  1. Marijuana IS NOT harmless.  The only people saying marijuana is harmless are those standing to profit from it and those who believe them. Science and medicine tell us otherwise.
  2. Where there’s more pot more people use. Increased supply and commercial access to this drug impacts youth and vulnerable citizens. 80% of marijuana revenue now comes from 20% of heaviest users–this is the definition of an “Addiction-For-Profit” industry.

3. Normalization of marijuana use impacts use rates, school performance and workplace performance. The highest rates of use, across age categories, are where the drug had been commercialized. 

4. Public Health:  Addiction prevention involves community environmental factors that delay and minimize drug exposures, especially to the developing brain through age 25.  But heavy use, daily/near-daily use, and “Cannabis Use Disorder” (addiction) is now a defined substance use disorder in DSM 5 and is a growing public health issue of concern.  Continue reading Why We Opt-Out — The Emerging Narrative on Community Marijuana Opt-Outs

Massachusetts Commercial Marijuana — How to “Opt Out” — An Action Plan

How to Opt Out of Commercial Recreational MarijuanaCommercial Recreational Marijuana Opt-Out Action Plan

UPDATE: November 16, 2017: Updates include addition of the excellent opt-out language passed by Longmeadow; and a link to a video of testimony to Bridgewater Town Council: “Commercial Marijuana Opt Out | What Every Elected Official Should Consider”

* UPDATE: October 31, 2017

Having received an interpretation from Beacon Hill we have updated this post to once again advise that both a General Bylaw and Zoning Bylaw with identical language be voted on by your community’s legislative body. Nowhere in the recreational marijuana law does it explicitly require a Zoning Bylaw as the confirming action of a local legislative body. Therefore a General Bylaw, only requiring a simple majority vote (51%) is believed to be sufficient to confirm a community’s desire to Opt-Out or ban recreational marijuana establishments. Zoning Bylaws require a super majority (2/3 affirmative) vote to pass. It is recommended, out of an abundance of caution, that your community in addition to voting a General Bylaw vote on a Zoning Bylaw (after voting on the General Bylaw). Regardless of the outcome of the vote on the Zoning Bylaw, the General Bylaw is expected to be sufficient to uphold an Opt-Out intention of a community.

UPDATE: October 9, 2017

After the passage of House Bill No. 3818 that became the recreational marijuana law in July 2017, the process for opting out of commercial recreational marijuana activity has changed slightly since Westborough became the first of about 30 communities to do so before this compromise law was signed by Governor Baker. A growing number of more than 100 communities have either Opted-Out or have passed moratoriums on recreational, commercial marijuana establishments citing among their reasons:

The law applies differently to each community based on whether that community voted in opposition (No On Q4 Community) or support (Yes on Q4 Community) of ballot Question 4 in November 2016.

Here is our understanding now based on information from the Massachusetts Municipal Association: Continue reading Massachusetts Commercial Marijuana — How to “Opt Out” — An Action Plan

Massachusetts Commercial Marijuana Law Opt Out — Westborough Voter Guide

Opt Out Marijuana Massachusetts Westborough Guide
When voters become educated on the true nature of the predatory industry behind the MA Marijuana Law, they become very concerned about what this industry might do to the character of their communities. Educate, vote, opt out.

VOTE YES to OPT OUT to KEEP OUT Pot Shops:

(download this guide to print & share)

Q&A:

When do we vote?
TOWN ELECTIONS BALLOT – Tuesday, March 7, Westborough High School, 8am-8pm

TOWN MEETING – Saturday, March 18, Westborough High School, 1pm, (potential continuation to Monday, March 20, 7pm)

Do we have to vote twice?
We encourage you to vote twice. The two voting venues are independent of each other. If you are unable to vote twice, it is absolutely fine to just vote in one of the two voting dates.

Why do we need 2 votes – Town Ballot: Tues, Mar 7 and Town Meeting: Sat, Mar 18-20th?
To avoid the state mandate in the new marijuana law that our community host pot shops, we must “opt out.”

To “opt out” of commercial pot sales requires a “vote of the voters” to pass a “bylaw” preventing pot shops. A “vote of the voters” occurs at the ballot box. A “bylaw”, however, must be passed on the Town Meeting floor. To withstand legal challenge, Westborough, under the current law, must do both. The Board of Selectman and Town Manager are referring to it as a belt and suspenders approach.

Who can vote?
To vote you must be a U.S. Citizen, age 18 and older, and a Massachusetts resident. You must register 20 days prior to the election. Continue reading Massachusetts Commercial Marijuana Law Opt Out — Westborough Voter Guide

MMA Appeals to State Leadership to Amend Marijuana Law to Protect Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Public Health, Interest and Safety

massachusetts-municipal-association2Update April 3, 2017: The Massachusetts Municipal Association continues to advocate for changes to the Massachusetts Marijuana Law that simply and clarify local control options for cities and towns. This is their letter to the Joint Committee on Marijuana.
______________

The Massachusetts Municipal Association sent, in November 2016, a strongly and thoughtfully worded appeal to State leaders urging changes be made to the law passed with Ballot Question 4 to regulate commercialized marijuana for recreational use. On December 7th, 2016 MMA issued a call to action to Massachusetts members and citizens to urge their legislators to delay and rewrite this law that is fraught with “many unanswered questions and many significant flaws”. Continue reading MMA Appeals to State Leadership to Amend Marijuana Law to Protect Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Public Health, Interest and Safety

When Considering Opting Out of Pot Establishments, Don’t be Confused by the “Pot Bar Provision”

Some communities and many Town Counsels have been confused by MGL Ch.94G, Sec.3 (b) of the Law–the “pot bar provision”. This provision has nothing to do with the process to Opt Out of commercial marijuana establishment land uses in your community.

Continue reading When Considering Opting Out of Pot Establishments, Don’t be Confused by the “Pot Bar Provision”

Federal Law Trumps State & Local Marijuana Laws

Arizona–This amicus brief should send chills up the spines of every elected official (local, state and federal) in the country.
Continue reading Federal Law Trumps State & Local Marijuana Laws

Town of Westborough Approves MMJ Zoning Bylaw

Westborough, Massachusetts–A Medical Marijuana zoning proposal was approved by voters at Town Meeting on March 16, 2013.

The vote was 97-34 in favor of the zoning bylaw.

Continue reading Town of Westborough Approves MMJ Zoning Bylaw