UPDATED: Selectmen voted on Tuesday, September 19, to remove one of the two questions from the November 7 ballot. The second question was removed. Based on an opinion by Town Counsel Selectmen voted to remove the ballot question that would allow the voters to decide whether they want to give the new City Council the power to pass ordinances regarding recreational marijuana retail establishments.
FRAMINGHAM – Framingham Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday night to place two questions regarding recreational marijuana on the November 7, city election ballot.
It will be the first time Framingham elects a Mayor and a City Council, and the Selectmen are giving the voters a chance to decide whether they want Framingham’s new Council to have some control over recreational marijuana sales in the new city.
The first question on the ballot will ask the voters if they wish to impose the 3 percent local options tax on the sale of recreational marijuana in Framingham.
The second question, will allow the voters to decide whether they want to give the new City Council the power to pass ordinances regarding recreational marijuana retail establishments.
Under the recently signed legislation, because Framingham voters voted to approve recreational marijuana, the city has to allow at least as many recreational marijuana retail establishments as they have medical dispensaries. Two medical dispensaries have been issued permission to operate in Framingham from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. That means that Framingham will also be required to have at least two recreational outlets if companies wanted to open them.
Under the recently signed legislation, the initially permitted sites would have the first opportunities to open recreational establishments.
“We don’t want to complicate an already complicated election season. Unfortunately the timing of the State Legislation that changed the rules of the Recreational Marijuana referendum passed by the voters and necessitated that we take action in order to give Framingham voters an opportunity to have a say regarding the changes made to their initial decision,” stated Framingham Selectmen Chair Cheryl Tully Stoll, in a press release. “Our objective is to give the voters of Framingham a chance to weigh in on the alterations made to the referendum question after their vote. We felt that it was our obligation to give them that opportunity. ”
Jim Pillsbury, a Framingham resident, and a long-time leading advocate for the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts, attended tonight’s Selectmen’s meeting and agreed with the Board’s decision to place the two questions on the November ballot. During the meeting he stated that he was, “fine,” with the Board’s decision.
Pillsbury is also a candidate for City Council in Framingham in District 4.
Selectman, Charlie Sisitsky, asked Town Council Amanda Zuretti, if supporting these measures would in any way be contrary with the Board’s position taken at their last meeting regarding not asking Town Meeting for a temporary moratorium. She stated that it would not be contrary, that they were indeed two different things.