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It appears there will have to be yet another – and hopefully, the final – townwide vote to be taken to ban retail marijuana stores from Milford. Look for the ballot question to appear sometime in the first quarter of 2018.

The reason for it is a simple one. Since Town Meeting Members voted on October 30 to change the wording of the Zoning By-law amendment from the wording that was on the September 19 ballot question, the new wording must be approved at another referendum so that all the legal folks are satisfied.

If the next referendum passes – and, yes, you will have to vote "Yes" again to mean "No" and opt out of having marijuana shops in town – then that's the last step in the long and convoluted process.

Some in town blame the Board of Selectmen for "jumping the gun" by starting the whole referendum process before the state legislature had finished tweaking the statewide ballot initiative passed a year ago. However, as someone who chronicles their meetings, I'll defend them by saying selectmen were just trying to keep pace with evolving state rules and regulations with the goal of trying to put the issue to bed before next spring's deadline to start accepting retail license applications.

One thing will be different going into the next referendum. Finding common ground, Milford CARES, Sage Naturals and ProVerde Laboratories will be working together to support banning retail marijuana businesses from coming to Milford.

In an amazing bit of "shuttle diplomacy" akin to the efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, Milford CARES and the two local businesses met several times over the weekend preceding last month's Special Town Meeting to find out more about each other's positions and look for shred interests.

It turns out that there were two interests they have in common:

• First, Milford CARES had no interest in preventing these two local medical marijuana –related businesses from expanding into the retail marijuana market as long as they had no plans to sell marijuana out of retail stores.

• Second, Sage Naturals and ProVerde obviously wanted to expand their businesses and had no plans for retail sales.

In one of those "Duh!" moments, by talking to each other, the two sides realized they had common interests and decided to support amending the September 19 language in a way that "grandfathered" Sage Naturals and ProVerde Laboratories from the otherwise ironclad barriers to anything retail marijuana-related. Town Meeting Members went along by a 171-17 vote. That's a resounding 91 percent approval.

If only the folks in Washington, D.C. who constantly snipe at each other while accomplishing nothing could take a lesson from Milford. In other words, stop talking "at" each other and start talking "with" each other. They might find out that there are common interests they can support.

But, I guess it's easier to throw rocks at each other then work together to fit those rocks into something lasting.


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