Guest commentary regarding adult use marijuana

Guest commentary regarding adult use marijuana

Dear Selectmen,

I am writing to urge you not to hold an additional election regarding the question of adult-use marijuana establishments in town. I strongly believe that the people of the town have already spoken when 82.4 percent of registered Belmont voters cast their ballots last November. To be precise, 14,453 voters stated their opinion on adult-use marijuana and only 238 voters took a ballot but chose not to mark a preference on the question.

Placing the question of prohibition on the April town ballot will almost certainly result in a decision by a smaller number of voters. If past voter turnout is predictive, we’re likely to see only 1 in 3 Belmont voters at the polls. How can we respect a decision made by a fraction of the population but not one made by nearly all of us?

I also implore you not to consider a special election. Special elections are costly and the earliest date of a special election would be mere weeks before the regular town-wide vote. It would be fiscally irresponsible to spend this money for very little time advantage, not to mention that the turnout is nearly guaranteed to be still smaller. If the Minuteman decision is any indication, we may see fewer than 20 percent of voters show up.

Mr. Selectmen, the voters have already spoken. Banning marijuana establishments will not prevent marijuana from coming into town. It will only prevent Belmont from taking advantage of a 3 percent sales tax that can be used for valuable programs. The town will be best served by enacting sensible by-laws and host agreements that ensure any potential establishments benefit our business districts and our residents.

Source: Guest commentary regarding adult use marijuana

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