CLARENDON — During a meeting last week, the Select Board continued to discuss banning the sale of recreational marijuana in town, expecting that the state Legislature will eventually legalize it.
For the past few months, the board has worked to ban the sale of recreational marijuana, having appointed resident Art Peterson to a committee to research ordinances in other towns that have done so. The board reviewed a few more ordinances at its March 25 meeting, then debated on what next steps to take.
“My suggestion for the board would be that we run this ordinance by (Vermont League of Cities and Towns) folks and say, this is what we’re considering, and wait until we get something back from them, and then move to adopt,” said board Chairman Mike Klopchin.
Selectman Robert Congdon Jr. said he didn’t think contacting the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) would be a good use of the board’s time.
“Your response from League is, there’s no recreational marijuana law in the state of Vermont yet, therefore… it’ll hold no merit, or something or rather, and they’re going to dismiss you, even though we know we’re being preemptive,” he said.
Treasurer Heidi Congdon said the VLCT weighed in on the issue in its December 2018 newsletter. She cited an article in the newsletter by Gwynn Zakov, VLCT municipal policy advocate, the conclusion of which reads, “... it is crucial for Vermont municipalities to secure the needed regulatory authority and resources to ensure they are not left scrambling to find funding in already overburdened local budgets or having to rewrite existing ordinances and deal with, for now, limited regulatory authority in time to respond to a fast-approaching recreational marijuana marketplace.”
Heidi Congdon suggested the board consider inviting Zakov to attend a board meeting, or public round table meeting, to discuss the matter.
The board agreed it would reach out to VLCT about doing so.
Robert Congdon said the board should also brush up on the legal requirements for passing an ordinance.
“I know ordinances have to be posted in the paper, I think at least twice, and you have to have one or two public hearings and that type of stuff, so we should probably brush up on exactly what our process is,” he said.
Klopchin directed Administrative Assistant to the Select Board Janet Arnold to research that, along with contacting VLCT.
Selectman Robert Bixby said it’s likely the Legislature will pass a bill legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana, “...and probably if we had everything all set to go it would not take that long once the Legislature acts to get the ordinance into place if we had everything all worked out and talked to the attorneys on what we can and can’t do. Of course they don’t know either, 100 percent, what the Legislature is going to do, and what they’re going to say in their law.”