Barnstable Planning Board Punts on Marijuana Decision

BARNSTABLE – The Town of Barnstable’s Planning Board heard public comment Monday regarding the future of recreational marijuana establishments in town, before deciding to delay any action.

The board is considering two potential zoning amendments, the first would create a Cannabis Overlay District and regulations for establishing, and operating, marijuana shops.

The measure is sponsored by Town Councilors Britt Beedenbender, Jennifer Cullum, and Paula Schnepp.

“I just don’t think it’s going away, the horse is out of the barn on this,” said Cullum.

“Massachusetts voters voted to make it legal so whether or not we vote to zone it in Barnstable is kind of a moot point, we’re gonna have people in cars going through Barnstable. So it just begged an opportunity for a more in-depth discussion.”

Beedenbender, whose precinct voted against recreational marijuana legalization, also supported the proposed district contending that there is no other business classification banned by the town.

The second amendment proposes to prohibit non-medical marijuana establishments town-wide, sponsored by Council President Eric Steinhilber and Councilor Matthew Levesque.

Marstons Mills resident and Barnstable Police officer John Murphy spoke in favor of the prohibition.

“It’s legal, they can use it, they can use in the privacy of their own home, they can obtain it legally.” Murphy told the board,

“The question is do we want to be able to have them buy it in the town of Barnstable? As a parent my answer to that is no. As a police officer the answer is no, the police department does not support the retail sale of marijuana in the town of Barnstable.”

The “Current Applications” section of the Planning Board website contains the full text of both proposals, supplemental materials, and a link to video of the Town Council and Board of Health’s joint workshop on Recreational Marijuana.

Maps of the proposed overlay district can be found in the “Rec Marijuana Regulations” file.

The board voted to continue the discussion until a later date. Once the planning board reaches a decision, they will make a recommendation to the full Barnstable Town Council who will issue a final verdict on the matter.

Barnstable residents voted against recreational marijuana legalization when it came before voters in 2016.


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