MONSON, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s the debate happening in many area municipalities now that recreational marijuana use is legal in Massachusetts, and Monday night it was Monson voters deciding whether to allow for pot shops and marijuana farms.
Attempts to allow adult-use marijuana narrowly failed Monday night, despite more people voting to allow it, voters didn’t secure the 2/3 majority needed.
Monson voters considered changing the towns zoning bylaws, allowing for cultivation, manufacturing, testing labs, retail, and greenhouse growers of marijuana in Monson. 168 people came out to cast their vote.
“It’s pouring rain out, and it’s been a miserable weekend, and if they’re showing up at all it’s because they’re concerned,” said Richard Solomon, one of the may voters who packed the Granite Valley School for the meeting.
He said he came with a few unanswered questions, “Concerned where they’re going to put it, where they expect to get for customers, how they’re going to handle traffic, and what they’re going to sell.”
The bylaw would have allowed for retail establishments in commercial and industrial zones, cultivators and testing labs in industrial zones, and a craft cooperative or greenhouse grower in rural residential zones.
The town’s planning board recommended earlier this month that the bylaw not be passed. Ninety-two people voted to pass the ordinance, and 76 voted against it. The ordinance would have needed 110 yes voted to pass.
Jessica Allen, a resident who proposed the ordinance, said allowing “craft marijuana cooperatives” was particularly important. It would have allowed small scale greenhouse farming on a large parcel of land.
“Keep our farmland green, provide farmers other alternatives that keeps land control local, and keeps farmers farming,” Allen explained. “It’s much more environmentally friendly than indoor cultivation.”
It took more than 200 voter signatures to bring the proposal to a special town meeting but ultimately did not secure the 2/3 majority needed.