MA: Retail Marijuana Moratorium Passed By South Hadley Officials

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The South Hadley Select Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a moratorium on applications by retail marijuana interests, citing the need for planning and precautions, The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

All five members of the board backed the moratorium after Town Administrator Michael Sullivan gave voice to Town Hall concerns about the town not being "quite ready to start addressing the retail sale of recreational marijuana," according to The Gazette.

Town voters approved marijuana legalization and retail sales by a margin of 52 to 48 percent — 4,735 to 4,439 — on Election Day.

"As it says in the moratorium, we are very respectful of the people of the commonwealth and of South Hadley," Sullivan said Tuesday, according to The Gazette. "This isn’t to try and change that or send it asunder."

Rather, Sullivan said, the move will allow the town to "properly plan" and "make sure protections are in place," The Gazette reported.

The moratorium dictates, "The town will defer and not accept any applications for the retail sale of cannabis in the Town of South Hadley until July 1, 2017 or such time appropriate measures are in place at the state and local levels, by proper means to address the will of the people and the safety of said public."

The temporary moratorium does not pertain to homegrown marijuana.

"The South Hadley Select Board is charged with matters of public safety and takes that responsibility earnestly," the moratorium continues.

Statewide, voters approved the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana — Question 4 — by a margin of 53.6 to 46.4 percent, or 1.75 to 1.51 million votes.

Other Bay State municipalities where such moratoriums or outright bans are being discussed or planned include Ashland, Williamstown, Ware, West Springfield, Falmouth, West Bridgewater, Southwick, Dennis and Mashpee, among others.

According to The Gazette, South Hadley Select Board Chair John Hine asked why the moratorium was under consideration, given the sale of marijuana won’t be allowed until 2018.

Sullivan responded, The Gazette said, by referring to the moratorium as another level of protection and said "all of these moratoriums" would "crumble" "if they were significantly challenged in court."

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Retail Marijuana Moratorium Passed By South Hadley Officials
Author: Phil Demers
Contact: 413-731-1036
Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson
Website: MassLive