The Marijuana Policy Initiative

Don't Commercialize Marijuana.

A volunteer non-partisan coalition of people from across the US and Canada who have come to understand the negative local-to-global public health and safety implications of an organized, legal, freely-traded, commercialized and industrialized marijuana market.

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.


(download this guide to print & share)


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.

If I have a green card, can I vote?

Where do I vote? (Town Election Ballot and Town Meeting)
All voting takes place at the Westborough High School. Entrance is the upper parking lot.

  • Town Election voting is in the gym on Tuesday, March 7th, 8am-8pm.
  • Town Meeting takes place in the auditorium beginning Saturday, March 18th 1pm.

Can I vote by absentee ballot?
Yes, for the general election vote.
No, for the Town Meeting vote–you must be present at Town Meeting to Vote.

Please check with the Town Clerk at the Town Hall. Details:

Wendy Mickel, Town Clerk
Deborah Ledoux, Assistant Town Clerk
Susan Bush, Administrative Assistant
Town Clerk Email
508 366 3020
Mon, Wed, Thurs: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Tues: 8:00am – 8:00pm
Fri: 7:30am – 12:00pm

How long will Town Meeting be?
We do not know for sure. Town Meeting begins on Saturday at 1pm. The meeting could run to Monday and Tuesday evenings. This year Town Meeting, our community’s legislative body, has over 40 warrant items to consider.

ARTICLES 32 & 33: “Amend General, and Zoning, Bylaws – Marijuana Not Medically Prescribed” pertain to the retail recreational marijuana Opt-Out.

We encourage you to attend and participate in the full meeting. Or watch live coverage of the meeting on Westborough TV. If necessary, we can take your cell phone number and send an alert as the warrant articles approach floor debate and the votes. You must sign into the meeting, pick up a copy of the warrant, and get a voting device, so be sure to come early enough to get that done before debate and the vote.

Technical detail: a motion can be made from the floor to move warrant articles forward on the agenda to be considered earlier in the meeting. If there are an adequate number of votes to support that motion, articles can be taken out of order. So it’s important to be paying attention.


I thought Westborough voted NO on question 4 in November?
Although the Town of Westborough, along with 89 other communities, voted against the legalization and commercialization of recreational marijuana in November 2016, the ballot question prevailed statewide. Massachusetts law now requires voters to take another step and “opt-out” in order to prohibit the establishment of commercial recreational marijuana-related businesses.

Is Adult (age 21 and up) use of marijuana legal in Westborough?
Yes, recreational use is now considered legal in this state as determined by the recently passed ballot question which became the MA Marijuana Law. (Though marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act.) Note: medicinal marijuana, with a doctor’s recommendation for specific medical conditions, was already legal after a 2012 statewide Ballot Question.

Public consumption is still illegal here. But commercial production and sale (age 21 and over) of marijuana hashish, THC concentrates, edibles, THC oils and related drug paraphernalia, is intended to become legal under the new state law in 2018. Use and possession by minors is still strictly illegal. But in other states, where marijuana outlets proliferate, youth use rates for the drug ranks highest. Where there is more marijuana, more kids use.

Can we opt-out of legal marijuana use?
No. There is currently no local control under the new law regarding use. But public consumption remains illegal.

Is Home growing allowed in Westborough?
Yes as determined by the recently passed 2016 ballot question, now Mass Marijuana Law.

Can our Town opt-out of home growing?
No. Under the new law, there is no opt-out provision regarding limited possession and limited home growing of marijuana (not visible outside the home).

On March 7th and March 18th, Town of Westborough voters will decide if the town will prevent the establishment and potential commercial expansion of marijuana businesses here. What exactly does commercial expansion refer to?
Non-medicinal marijuana cultivators, product developers, manufacturing and test facilities, marketing commercial recreational marijuana and high-potency THC edibles, concentrates and drug paraphernalia in retail “pot” shops, are all potential uses under this law. The law requires that a minimum number of businesses be allowed to locate in each community. But the law has no upper limit on the number that must be accepted. Unless the community holds votes to “Opt Out” of the state mandates in this new law.

Why is the Massachusetts Marijuana Law so (unfortunately) unique?
The Massachusetts commercial recreational marijuana law that voters passed in November 2016 is profoundly important: it legally captures every city and town in the Commonwealth for retail and industrial expansion of a commercial marijuana industry. In the past, in the few other states where voters passed these marijuana ballot questions, local jurisdictions must specifically “opt in” to approve the operation of marijuana businesses in their communities. For example, two-thirds of Colorado communities did not “opt in”, so host no marijuana commerce. In Massachusetts now, voters must proactively “opt out” to prohibit the establishment and expansion of commercial marijuana operations in their town and city limits.

The commercialized marijuana movement throughout the country has evolved the language in its ballot questions to include this form of “industrial regulatory capture,” which is how industrial forces gain control over and access to the broadest possible market place. This is a profound legal development, especially when the product category is within an addiction-for-profit market space. Each community is now on their own to determine whether a controlled substance, a hallucinogen with clearly known health and safety harms, is to be produced and distributed through commercial sale in their home towns.

How can I help?
Hold a sign on Election Day! Pass out voter education material! We have a signup ongoing. Please email, and we can forward the signup link to you.

Tell your friends who you think will be supporters of VOTE YES to OPT OUT to KEEP OUT Pot Shops.

If posting in open groups on Facebook or social media, remember, the marijuana industry has a big head start on social media, and trolling is common.

Want to know more?
For additional education materials, please check out the following:

1. Then and Now: Industry Playbooks and Addiction Marketing by Edventi
See preview and order the DVD here:

or, pay per view here:

2. Marijuana Policy Fact Sheet- Easy to read format, Very Useful Facts.

3. This is America on Legal Drugs. Do we want use rates going up, along with harms?

4. Marijuana in Colorado: The State of High

5. SAM Educational Briefs & Data on Marijuana Policy, February 2017- Very Current Data

6. Know the Facts: Marijuana Commercialization

7. Marijuana and Adolescent Brain Development

BONUS Materials:

8. Protecting Our Children’s Future

9. SMART Colorado – Protect Youth from Commercialized Marijuana- Excellent Website

10. We’re not alone in our concern. The Massachusetts Municipal Association issued a call to action for Mass residents to urge their legislators to seriously amend the MA Marijuana Law. More here and other useful links:

11. For more info on Town Meeting, check out:

The DRAFT of this year’s warrant looks like this (see link). The Board of Selectmen (BOS) and Advisory Finance Committee (AFC) are currently finalizing the warrant.

Download a .pdf of this opt out guide to print and share: