Amherst taking steps to regulate use of recreational marijuana in town

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Amherst is considering the best way to regulate recreational marijuana.

The town wants to limit the number of pot shops in their community and where you can consume the drug.

They want to have rules in place once the state Cannabis Control Commission releases its regulations on March 15.

“In places like Colorado, the revenue has been able to be put towards like infrastructure improvements, schools, education,” Leah Rosenfield of Amherst told 22News. “I don’t think anyone is ever complaining about an increase in funding to those types of issues.”

Colorado collected $223 million in taxes from pot sales last year, directing the revenue to public education.

Under state law, marijuana excise tax revenues fund the Cannabis Control Commission and any leftover money goes to public health initiatives related to substance abuse and public safety.

Amherst’s town meeting decided to impose a 3 percent local option tax on pot sales, and to limit the number of pot shops to eight. Some residents think that’s too restrictive.

“The people of Massachusetts have spoken and they’ve said, ‘we want to legalize marijuana, recreational marijuana,” said Ronald McHugh of Springfield. “So it should be legalized, just like package stores.”

Support for recreational marijuana is strong in Amherst. Last November, 74 percent of Amherst voters approved ballot Question 4.

Residents also voted to ban public consumption, including edibles.

Once the Cannabis Control Commission releases its regulations next year, Amherst will adjust their bylaws to make sure they comply with state policy.

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