TEWKSBURY, MA – Tewksbury Town Meeting will consider four warrant articles October 2 which, collectively, would ban the sale of recreational marijuana and related establishments in town. The town has been considering such a proposal to reflect the Tewksbury electorate’s opposition 2016 statewide referendum which legalized recreational marijuana. Tewksbury has a temporary ban in place but needs to enact a permanent ban before the state finalizes regulations for recreational marijuana sales.
The measures were originally expected to be included on the warrant for the spring town meeting, but were pushed back to the fall town meeting. Since then, officials have been holding meetings to collect input and determine how best to craft Tewksbury’s proposed ban.
The debate on whether or not to ban recreational marijuana sales in Tewksbury mirrors debates playing out for legislative bodies in a band of towns north of Boston that all voted against the November 2016 ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana use and sales in Massachusetts. The measure passed statewide, but Tewksbury voters were almost evenly divided on the ballot question in last years general election. In Tewksbury, just 8,727 voters, or 50.8%, opposed legalized cannabis, while 8,441 voters, or 49.2%, supported the measure.
Almost all of the towns in Massachusetts that voted against question four are considering or have adopted laws that will ban recreational marijuana sales. Statewide, the measure passed by a margin of 1,745,394 to 1,511,747. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed a “compromise bill” that reworked the law to address concerns in the original language of the law. One of the biggest changes in the compromise bill was giving towns where the measure failed more leeway to ban recreational marijuana sales.