Massachusetts’ First “Opt-Out” Town Attributes 10x-Margin Victory to Fact-Based Voter Education
WESTBOROUGH, MA – After voting by a slim 6% margin against the November 2016 Massachusetts’ Ballot Question 4 to legalize marijuana (53% v.47%), the Town of Westborough (March 2017) became the first community in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to actively prohibit non-medical marijuana businesses, farms, testing and manufacturing. And, did so decisively at the ballot box (80%) and at Town Meeting
(87% General Bylaw / 88% Zoning Bylaw).
The 60+point margin victory was directly attributed to fact-based voter education and awareness on the risks and implications of today’s high-potency marijuana products, the speculative green-rush of an “addiction-for-profit” marijuana industry and specifically, the onerous underpinnings of Massachusetts Marijuana Law.
Westborough’s fact-based voter education efforts alerted the community to the health and societal risks of 21st century marijuana and the legal implications at the local level, including testimony of a Colorado family’s exodus from an expanding, aggressively-commercialized pot culture, facts vs. myths about the law’s content, funders and political narrative, clarity around decriminalization & tax benefits, scientific studies corroborating the harmful and potentially irreversible effects of high-potency THC (3-10x in plant, up to 90+% in concentrates) and youth-enticing pot edibles, unlike that known in generations past.
Change in voter sentiment with a “belt and suspenders” town elective and legislative process achieved Westborough’s “hat trick” – the 3 required votes which allowed Westborough to become the first town to opt-out of the Massachusetts Marijuana law.
Westborough Opt-Out Concerned Citizens (WOOCC), the citizen-led team responsible for initiating community awareness on the issue, is sponsoring a forum, “How Westborough’s Mobilization Stopped Local Pot Commercialization” to share Westborough’s marijuana opt-out experience with towns and municipalities who are navigating their own opt-out process.
WOOCC will host state and town officials, business and community activists to provide strategies and insights of Westborough’s legal, political, business and community initiatives. Topics will include understanding the Massachusetts Marijuana Law of 2016, opt-out options and approaches to building a comprehensive opt-out strategy – from activating civic, political, business, medical, scientific, religious and community leaders to mobilizing voter awareness and education.
All Massachusetts citizens – official and volunteers – are welcome and encouraged to attend as a means to better advocate for their own cities and towns. The forum, open to the public, will take place on Wednesday, April 12th 5:30-9pm at 17 Willow Street, Westborough, MA, beginning with a Meet and Greet at 5:30pm, Presentations at 6:15pm, and Q&A from 7:30-9pm. Seating is limited. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: “Reserve Seating for 4/12 Workshop.” Please include your name, names of guests and your community. Seating is limited. Confirmation and event details will follow.