On July 27, 2019

Local towns adopt marijuana policies

The Clarendon Select Board doesn’t want marijuana coming to town.

The board unanimously passed an ordinance at its Monday, July 22 meeting prohibiting marijuana dispensaries from establishing.

The ordinance would prohibit the sale of marijuana. Those who violate the ordinance could be fined $800.

“We don’t want (anybody) to sell marijuana in town,” said Clarendon Select Board chair Mike Klopchin. “This is a pre-emptive situation.”

Clarendon residents have 60 days to comment before the ordinance is adopted.

The Select Board had considered a marijuana ordinance since last fall and formed a committee reviewing the possible language and ramifications.

Klopchin said the board is trying to address concerns from residents.

“There were a fair amount of folks that—when his was going down in the Legislature—came to the meetings and expressed their opinion as far as marijuana is concerned,” Klopchin said.

The Vermont Legislature legalized growing and possessing small amounts of marijuana in 2018. Selling marijuana, and smoking it in a public space, however, is still illegal. A bill to make the sale of marijuana legal by 2021 didn’t make it out of the Legislature this year, but dozens of towns have established marijuana ordinances in anticipation of marijuana being consumed more and more.

The Killington Select Board is considering an ordinance to prevent medical marijuana dispensaries.

The board considered a draft of a marijuana ordinance at its July 16 meeting.

The ordinance would prevent all medical marijuana dispensaries and prohibit consuming marijuana in a public place. Those who violate the ordinance could be fined up to $500.

Killington Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth said he received an inquiry from a company wanting to establish a medical marijuana dispensary in town a couple months ago.

“The question was asked—what’s the town’s feelings on it?” he said.

Killington Select Board member Jim Haff questioned the language regarding use of marijuana in a public space, given the state’s current laws. The board agreed to seek public input about the ordinance at its Aug. 22 meeting.

Meanwhile, nearby Rutland City has prohibited marijuana dispensaries since 2012 and the Ludlow Village established an ordinance in 2016 to prohibit the sale of drugs, tobacco and vaping paraphernalia. In 2018, the Village added marijuana to the list of prohibitions.

Doing that “was in anticipation of the legalization of small amounts of marijuana,”Ludlow Town Manager Scott Murphy said.

The legalization of marijuana has long been a controversial topic. Some in the state have expressed fear that it will impact tourism and police have actively pushed against legalizing it.

Gov. Phil Scott’s views on the topic have also changed.

Scott signed the legislation in 2018 with “mixed emotions,” he said in a statement.
Scott empowered municipalities and landlords to adopt their own policies and ordinances for marijuana use at the time.

This June, Scott joined 11 other governors in signing a letter asking congressional leadership to support legislation that allows states to regulate marijuana without federal intervention.

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