Marijuana Bylaw Panel Discussion/Q&A

Panelists include Williamstown’s Town Counsel Joel Bard of KP-Law and Planning Board chair Amy Jeschawitz. The discussion will be moderated by Selectwoman Anne O’Connor. Anyone with an interest in understanding the zoning bylaw, or with questions about marijuana legalization and its implementation, is encouraged to attend.

The bylaw zones for three types of marijuana businesses: retail, production, and testing. The proposed bylaw would allow retail by right in the Planned Business district (roughly the commercial strips of Rte 2 east and Simonds Rd north), and by special permit in the Southern Gateway (the Cold Spring Rd section of Rte 7 south), testing facilities by right in Limited Industrial; production by right in Limited Industrial and by special permit in Rural Residence 2 and Rural Residence 3.

Questions could include: What do we know about what retail marijuana outlets might look like—could Cumberland Farms start selling pot? Will retail include edibles that look like candy? What about pot brownies at a farm stand—could pot increase our tourist economy? What are the implications of having no zoning in place? Is there a process through which towns may opt out of hosting retail marijuana? What are other towns across the Commonwealth doing?

From Anne O’Connor: I was moved to organize this forum after hearing the concern expressed at the Planning Board’s public hearing about retail marijuana and in light of my own deliberations about the best path forward for the town. I anticipate a healthy debate on Article 36 at Town Meeting, and I felt it would be helpful to allow people to ask questions of our legal counsel in advance of the vote.

Please rsvp or sign-up on the Facebook Event page, so I can plan attendance: https://www.facebook.com/events/646788965522738/

The proposed zoning bylaw for recreational and medical marijuana—Article 36 on the town meeting warrant—will be voted at town meeting on Tuesday, May 16th, at 7PM at Williamstown Elementary School.