Home > More News > Press Release From the Marijuana Policy Advisory Committee: Explanation of Warrant Articles Related to Recreational Marijuana to be considered at Easton's Annual Town Meeting on May 21, 2018
Press Release From the Marijuana Policy Advisory Committee: Explanation of Warrant Articles Related to Recreational Marijuana to be considered at Easton's Annual Town Meeting on May 21, 2018
In November of 2016, voters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed Question 4 at the ballot box, legalizing recreational marijuana usage throughout the state, with commercial cultivation, manufacture and retail sales of marijuana going into effect in 2018. In May of 2017, Easton Town Meeting voted to adopt a moratorium on the sale of marijuana within the Town to run through June 30, 2018. To prepare marijuana policy options for the May 2018 Annual Town Meeting, the Easton Board of Selectmen established the Marijuana Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) in September 2017. Consisting of representatives of the Selectmen, Planning and Zoning Board, Board of Health, and Police Department, MPAC was to report policy recommendations to the Board of Selectmen for the necessary regulation and/or prohibition of marijuana within the Town.
To accomplish its goal, MPAC held five public meetings, including two public information sessions, encouraging public participation at each of its meetings. Working with the Town’s legal counsel and incorporating public feedback, MPAC developed two general and two zoning bylaw warrant article recommendations which were presented to the Planning and Zoning Board on March 12, 2018 and to the Board of Selectmen on April 23, 2018. All four of these articles were included in the Annual Town Meeting Warrant by the Board of Selectmen.
Under BOTH options 1 (Articles 34 & 35) and 2 (36 & 37) RETAIL marijuana establishments would be prohibited in Easton.
The following summary is provided in an effort to educate the public on the options that will be presented at Town Meeting on May 21, 2018:
Option 1: Total Prohibition of Recreational Marijuana Establishments [Articles 34 and 35]
Because a majority of Easton voters voted “no” on Question 4 to legalize marijuana in 2016, a full prohibition of recreational marijuana establishments may be enacted by the passage of a bylaw and accompanying zoning bylaw at Town Meeting. A YES vote on Article 34 (general bylaw) and Article 35 (zoning bylaw) would ban ALL retail and commercial recreational marijuana establishments in the Town of Easton. If Town Meeting votes YES on Articles 34 and 35, Articles 36 and 37 will be dismissed. If Town Meeting votes NO on Articles 34 and 35, Articles 36 and 37 will be considered.
Option 2: Prohibition of Retail Recreational Marijuana Establishments & Allowance of Non-Retail Marijuana Establishments (Cultivation, Testing, etc.) [Articles 36 & 37]
A YES vote on Article 36 (general bylaw) and Article 37 (zoning bylaw) would ban RETAIL recreational marijuana establishments but would allow commercial cultivation, manufacturing, and testing facilities only with a special permit issued by the Planning Board and a license issued by the Board of Selectmen and only in a marijuana overlay district (Easton Industrial Park). Any prospective allowable marijuana establishment would also need to execute a Host Community Agreement with the Board of Selectmen which would include Community Impact Fees to be paid to the Town to mitigate municipal costs associated with the marijuana establishment.
Failure of Both Options
It is important to note that if none of these Articles pass there would be no local rules (bylaws) in place to control where and how recreational marijuana establishments would be located or operated.
It is also important to note that all of these Articles pertain to the regulation or prohibition of recreational marijuana uses as they are related to land use and the general bylaws of the Town. These warrant articles do not have any impact on the November 2016 legalization of adult use recreational marijuana for private consumption on private property in Easton as allowed by Massachusetts law or on the sale or use of medical marijuana.
Full copies of the Annual Town Meeting Warrant may be obtained online at www.easton.ma.us or at the Town Offices, 136 Elm Street, Easton, MA. Other information pertaining to the Marijuana Policy Advisory Committee may be found under “Boards and Committees” at www.easton.ma.us
Submitted by Dottie Fulginiti, Chair
on behalf of the Marijuana Policy Advisory Committee
Preview the Annual Town Meeting presentation slides on Articles 34-37 here.