KILLINGTON — Though not required, the town wants to hear from the public about an ordinance that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries.
The draft ordinance can be viewed online here: bit.ly/0802Ordinance.
“The purpose of this ordinance is to regulate the establishment and operation of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries within the Town of Killington, Vermont, and provide penalties for use of marijuana in a Public Place,” reads the ordinance. It uses state statutes to define “marijuana,” “dispensary,” and “public place.”
The topic was discussed by the Killington Select Board at its July 16 meeting. The board decided, without a vote, to schedule a public hearing for the ordinance to be held at the Aug. 20 board meeting.
“The purpose of this dispensary ordinance, there’s been some discussion about the medical marijuana side and having dispensaries in town,” said Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth at the July 16 meeting.
Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth said at the July 16 meeting that he drafted this ordinance after it was brought up at a previous Select Board meeting. He said it was reviewed by attorney Jim Barlow, who suggested some minor edits.
Hagenbarth said the town doesn’t need to hold public hearings ahead of passing an ordinance, though it’s been recommended that it do so. He said if the board moves to adopt the ordinance, it won’t go into effect for 60 days, allowing anyone opposed to it time to get a petition together for a town vote.
“The intent is someone could petition the town to have a town meeting to try to get it repealed if that’s what they wanted to do,” he said. “I think the better option is to make sure we get enough input from the townspeople before we pass it.”
Select Board Chairman Stephen Finneron said the board has typically held public hearings on things items like this, needed or not, and would like to see that practice continue.
The ordinance also restricts the use of marijuana in public places. Selectman Jim Haff said that was fine with regards to town-owned properties, but questioned whether it would apply to places like restaurants.
Hagenbarth said in an interview Thursday the ordinance as drafted only refers to medical dispensaries and doesn’t contemplate recreational outlets, which aren’t legal in Vermont. The Legislature had contemplated the creation of a regulated market for recreational marijuana this past session, but that didn’t happen. Some towns, like Clarendon, have started the process of banning recreational sales within their borders, anticipating the state will at some point make those sales legal.