Marion residents approve marijuana moratorium, money for boiler

Feb 16, 2018

It only took 15 minutes for Marion voters to decide what they wanted – a marijuana moratorium through the end of the year, and a new boiler to replace the Town House's broken model.

Residents passed both items on the Special Town Meeting agenda on Thursday night with little discussion.

The moratorium on recreational marijuana establishments will run through Dec. 31, and the aim is to give town officials time to draft municipal bylaws to regulate the establishments.

The state is expected to have its own regulations for recreational marijuana ready by March 15, but will start accepting applications for licenses on April 1, giving towns only a few weeks to draft and vote on bylaws. Without the moratorium, applicants would only be subject to the regulations of the state and could open in any area in town zoned limited industrial.

One resident proposed an amendment to the moratorium on Town Meeting floor – that it be extended through Dec. 31, 2020. However, the motion did not pass.

Dr. John Conway, a pediatrician, spoke up in support of the moratorium in order to protect children.

“Looking at what’s happened in Colorado, getting our zoning and signage requirements in place is really important,” he said. “We need to plan ahead. As a pediatrician I’ve seen kids getting ahold of marijuana...and their lives crumbling from that.”

Residents also passed a second article, which requested $158,460 to replace the boiler in the Town House. The previous boiler died during the extreme cold snap at the beginning of the year.

The money was transferred from free cash, money the town didn't spend and has in reserve, and Finance Committee Chair Alan Minard assured residents the money was already available.

“The [Finance Committee] does recommend this article,” he said. “We’re between a rock and a hard place…The source of money is free cash, which has been certified. There is enough to do this particular job.”