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Municipal Guidance Article: Sharon

At the November 2017 special Town Meeting Sharon voters authorized a moratorium on the shops and dispensaries until June but one group of residents wants to see something more in place.

A local grassroots organization, SharonCARES, is looking to ask the town’s Board of Selectmen to let the decision on whether or not to allow recreational marijuana shops to locate in the town be decided by the voters at the ballot box in May, not by the selectmen.

As of Jan. 16, 600 registered voters had signed a petition the group is planning to present at the Jan. 23 selectmen’s meeting asking for the ballot vote.

“Another goal is to try to get the public aware,” Jennifer Zhang said. “A lot of people don’t even know there’s a discussion about marijuana in town.”

She estimated 85 percent of her neighbors were unaware of the discussions when she visited them to talk about the petition.

“We should promote public awareness no matter which side you go,” Zhang. “At the end of the day it’s our town not the Board of Selectmen’s.”

Part of the confusion could stem from the fact that voters think they have already voted on the subject but that vote was simply to put in place a moratorium on shops until final legislation comes from the State House.

According to Connie Dai of SharonCARES, towns that voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana need to vote to ban its sale in their towns; towns that voted against legalization do not need a vote to ban the shops.