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Mendon Residents Pass Marijuana Bylaw

A total of 86 residents voted in a new bylaw during a Special Town Meeting that

will permit Mendon to have marijuana establishments located in certain areas of the Highway/Business District that runs along Rt. 140 and Hartford Ave. The Town Meeting took place on November 27 at Miscoe Hill School.

The new bylaw, Article 21 on the warrant, was put together by the Planning Board who held a public hearing on the measure on November 19, which according to Board Chair Bill Ambrosino had "mostly positive feedback from the community." Ambrosino added that the Planning Board worked diligently to put together a solid bylaw in an area in town that can handle such establishments with minimal impact.

However, not all residents in attendance at the town meeting were in favor of the bylaw. Jack Hodges stated not only do the marijuana establishments violate federal laws but also the new bylaw provided for multiple establishments in the community, which had him concerned.

Resident Kevin Rudden who lives in the Highway/Business district, felt more work needed to be done before voting on the bylaw. "If we want to do this, let's do it right,"

he said. Ambrosino did explain that the bylaw could be amended down the road if necessary. However, if something was not passed that evening, the town's moratorium was expiring soon and could leave the town open to a number of such establishments without guidelines or restrictions in place.

Still, some were favor of the bylaw feeling the revenue brought in from the establishments would be a positive for the community. "The bylaw is very reasonable, very restrictive," explained Tom Merolli, Chair of the Economic Development Committee. "Not passing it would close the door to a potential source of revenue." Article 21 was eventually passed by a 2/3 majority vote.

The following three articles were also related

to marijuana establishments. Article 22 passed unanimously to impose a three percent local sales tax on those retailers that sell, transfer marijuana or marijuana products within the Town of Mendon.

As a result of the passed bylaw, Articles 23 and 24 were passed over unanimously. Article 23 was to extend the deadline of the moratorium which was initially passed at the May 2018 Annual Town Meeting.

Article 24 was to prohibit entirely the sale and cultivation of marijuana in town. If voted on and passed that evening, the measure would have also needed to come before voters through a ballot question.


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