In March 2017, Lincolnites approved a temporary moratorium on cannabis businesses while residents decided on a permanent course of action. That moratorium is set to expire on November 20, but the town has the option of extending it for a limited period of time. This fall’s Town Meeting vote will seek to extend it until June 30, 2019.
At the fall vote, residents will also be asked if they want to institute a full ban on all cannabis businesses. If two-thirds say yes, the town will seek to affirm that vote at the ballot box after the spring 2019 Annual Town Meeting. “We’re fairly close to two-thirds now in terms of support for a full ban,” Selectman James Craig noted at the board’s June 19 meeting, referring to results of a town-wide survey mailed to residents in April.
If the two-thirds bar isn’t met, the Marijuana Study Committee will seek more feedback with another survey “so we can really drill down on what appetite the town has for commercial development ore retails sales” of cannabis products, Craig said. The Planning Board would then draw up proposed zoning amendments to regulate businesses and would bring them to a Town Meeting vote in spring 2019.
If the town does nothing, the state could begin issuing licenses to marijuana-based establishments in Lincoln once the moratorium has expired, as noted in the FAQ document posted by the committee in April.
Selectmen emphasized that any town-wide action on cannabis businesses will not affect the personal rights granted under the 2016 statewide legalization of recreational marijuana. Under the new law, Massachusetts residents 21 and older may use, grow and possess marijuana products. Individuals may possess under 10 ounces of marijuana inside their homes and under one ounce in public, as well as grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes (or 12 plants in households with two adults). Public consumption and driving under the influence of marijuana remain illegal.