TREMONT — A public hearing Monday, Sept. 18, could determine if the town is going to pot or not. The hearing on a proposed ban of the commercial sale of marijuana is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the town office.
Selectmen last month voted to get public input on the issue before making a decision on whether to put an ordinance prohibiting the retail sale of marijuana before voters in November. As proposed, the ordinance would ban retail marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, facilities that manufacture marijuana products, testing facilities and social clubs. The ordinance would not apply to medical marijuana.
The proposed ordinance would prohibit any person or organization from developing or operating “a business that engages in retail or wholesale sales of a retail marijuana product” as defined by state law.
During discussion of the issue at an Aug. 21 selectmen’s meeting, Town Manager Dana Reed pointed out that the town’s zoning ordinance does not address some of the concerns that follow in the wake of marijuana legalization approved by voters in November 2016. He gave selectmen a list of options: doing nothing, banning commercial sales, regulating certain aspects of medical marijuana or regulating both commercial and medical marijuana.
Selectmen were leery of any regulation of medical marijuana. Chairman Kevin Buck acknowledged that banning the sale of commercial marijuana “makes a lot of sense to me,” especially considering that the town has no full-time law enforcement coverage.
If selectmen decide to put the proposed ordinance before voters, the question would be on the Nov. 7 ballot. If approved, the ban would go into effect immediately.