By a two-thirds majority, town meeting voters approved a ban on recreational marijuana establishments, replacing the temporary moratorium that had been in effect. This vote was supported by the recommendation of the Planning Board and selectmen. One Planning Board member said their recommendation was based in part on the Holden voting results of state ballot initiative allowing for marijuana sales. A majority of Holden voters voted against the measure.
Selectman Anthony Renzoni said, “Our decision was due to the lack of knowledge we have about how this will play out, there is great uncertainty about state regulations and costs that will be imposed on us. We want to understand the challenges. We recommend bringing this back for a vote next year and revisiting it with facts next year.”
One resident questioned why the temporary moratorium could not be extended for another year. Town counsel informed the meeting that extending the temporary moratorium is not possible under state law and that if the town took no action unregulated sales could begin in town on July 1.
Other residents expressed concerns that the town is passing up a lucrative tax opportunity. Renzoni responded, “We have seen in Rhode Island where the costs have outweighed the tax benefit, but we are not Rhode Island, we are not Colorado. This is a Massachusetts model, and we don’t yet know how this is going to play out for towns.”