August 21 2017

Recreational Marijuana Sale Ban on Town Meeting Warrant

By: Rich Hosford

The Board of Selectmen approved the printing of the warrant for the upcoming September town meeting last Monday night.


Two of the articles, one a general bylaw change and the other a zoning bylaw change, focus on banning the sale of recreational marijuana in Burlington.


The articles had been proposed by the ad-hoc Marijuana Advisory Committee led by Planning Board member Barbara L’Heureux, who was at Monday night’s selectmen's meeting to answer any questions.


She said that on the advice of town counsel, who was interpreting  language coming out of the state, the path they are following to ban the sale of recreational marijuana is the two bylaw changes at Town Meeting possibly followed by a ballot referendum at next April’s Town Election.


However, because of legislation signed by Gov. Charlie Baker last month, the referendum may not be necessary. That bill states that any community that voted against legalizing recreational marijuana last November could ban it by a vote of the municipal leadership, such as a board of selectmen, city council or Town Meeting.


Burlington voted 54 against and 44 in favor of legalization, with roughly two percent leaving the question blank.


L’Heureux stressed that the ban would only apply to the sale of recreational marijuana in town, either at stores or weed bars. It would not impact medical marijuana sales. It would also not make possession of marijuana by of-age adults illegal or impact an individual's right to grow it in their home.


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