Not Sure About a Recreational Pot Store in Acton?

Acton has been evenly divided on this issue since the November 2016 ballot question. Out of over 12,500 voters in that election, the question to legalize at the state level passed in Acton by only 544 votes. At a heavily-attended Special Town Meeting last December, we passed (by an overwhelming margin) an article asking the Board of Selectmen to let us decide locally if recreational pot is a good fit for our community. Just a few weeks ago, again in a high-turnout election, Acton voters narrowly passed a ballot question to ban recreational marijuana establishments.

On December 3, Acton Town Meeting members will vote once on the exact same question we passed on November 6. Why? Because municipalities that voted “yes” in 2016 can only ban recreational marijuana in a two-step process – once at the polls, once at Town Meeting. So, here we are.

There’s no point in throwing out statistics to support one side of the debate or the other. We can all pull from sources that back up our position. If you haven’t already decided which way to vote, the best argument in support of the ban I can offer at this time is this: wait and see.

To date, over a hundred communities have banned recreational marijuana establishments. This includes dozens of “yes” towns. Many cities and towns still have moratoria in place and are pursuing bans or zoning bylaws. Others have banned retail but allowed cultivation, manufacturing or testing. Acton can learn from these communities before allowing recreational pot. We can see what works and what doesn’t. We can see if it affects their municipal budgets, crime rates, their schools or their property values.

Our Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and School Committee have all chosen to take no position on this article. Even they’re not sure.

If you’re not convinced of the benefits of a recreational pot shop in Acton, I urge you to vote YES to support the ban. Once this genie is out of the bottle, it may be impossible to put it back in.

Subscribe to the Acton Forum and get our newsletters emailed to you -- FREE! Click Here!