The town is voting on Article 20, zoning mesure, at its May 7 Town Meeting that will effectively ban the commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana within town limits. Residents asked questions about edible versus smoking marijuana, how the police will prosecute crimes related to marijuana use, and contact high. Katherine Laughman, an attorney at KP Law, and Police Chief Scott Nix, gave brief presentations and then took questions from the audience. The article was submitted by the Planning Board.
Nix spoke about his worries prosecuting drivers under the influence of marijuana if recreational marijuana shops are allowed.
“There is no established limit for marijuana as what is considered illegal,” said Nix. “It’s hard for us to prosecute as it is now and it’s only going to get harder. There are no standards… we’re kind of at wit’s end.”
Nix also said he’s worried about the accidents it can cause. He described the difficulty of telling if drivers are ingesting marijuana with the popularity of edibles like marijuana-infused brownies. He said currently the police department is training officers to be drug recognition experts but that it can take a lot of resources.
“I very much worry about our youth,” said Nix.
Laughman walked the audience through the legal language of the Town Meeting article. Because Sudbury voted no on Question 4 in the 2016 election, the town can place restrictions on the recreational marijuana industry more easily than communities whose residents supported the new law. The town can limit or prohibit the sale of recreational marijuana by a vote of Town Meeting. Communities where there was majority support for decriminalization can only enact bans through townwide ballot questions.
She explained that if Sudbury bans recreational sales of marijuana, companies in other neighboring towns or cities could still deliver the drug to customers living in Sudbury.
“As of right now, delivery operations have not been permitted under CCC (Cannabis Control Commission) regulations,” said Laughman.