KILLINGTON — An ordinance that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries in town needs further adjustment, according to the Select Board.
After some discussion at its Tuesday meeting, the board opted to table the matter until Sept. 3.
Selectman Jim Haff said he has questions and concerns about where smoking marijuana is prohibited, and what the fine would be compared to the fine for using alcohol.
“The penalties on page two, section four, this is if you’re caught smoking on town property? My only question on that is if someone is caught drinking alcohol on town property, (are) there the same penalties?” Haff asked.
Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth said he didn’t know and would do some research ahead of the Sept. 3 meeting.
“I don’t want to put a penalty … if somebody has a medical marijuana license and they need to take their medicine, do we prohibit people from taking their medicine on town property?” Haff wondered.
Hagenbarth said the way the draft ordinance is currently written, yes, smoking medical marijuana on town property would be banned. He said the state already has a ban on smoking on public property.
Also the board fielded several questions from a woman who refused to identify herself to the Herald and did not provide her name to town officials keeping records. Her questions related to why the town would ban medical dispensaries, forgoing them as possible tax revenue streams.
“I feel the town of Killington is not a medical center. I feel it’s a recreational center,” Haff responded. “I’ve said, my opinion is that I understand the medical marijuana, I understand the recreational side of it completely. Most of the people I know with a medical marijuana license in the town of Killington are already growing their own.”
He said he would personally have no problem with recreational marijuana in Killington if it becomes legal.
“All it would be doing is bringing folks into the medical marijuana shop and it’s not for recreation. I have said straight out in the past that if, not if but when, the state of Vermont makes marijuana recreational, I think it fits into this town,” he said.
Hagenbarth said the town wouldn’t be able to tax individual marijuana sales. In some states where such sales are legal, counties and towns can do that, but the same isn’t true in Vermont. He said the state does allow Killington to tax rooms, meals, and alcohol, but this is done with the state’s approval.
“I just believe that the town of Killington is not the place for medical marijuana at this time,” Haff said.
The woman said she was circulating a petition that would have the town voting on the ordinance should it pass.
Should the board vote to approve the ordinance, it must be publicly posted for 60 days before it can take effect. This gives anyone opposed to it, or wanting a town vote, to circulate a petition.
The board has been talking about this ordinance for several weeks now. While public hearings and input on ordinances aren’t required, the board opted to hear opinions on the matter before acting.