Chatham Pot Zoning Bylaw Does Not Make It Onto Warrant

CHATHAM – Chatham selectmen have made the decision to not put a much discussed bylaw on the May town meeting warrant. The zoning amendment would have banned shops that sell marijuana and all related activities.

The selectmen were recently notified that the planning board will not endorse the bylaw.

Selectman Dean Nicastro explained his main worry. “I am concerned that even though a general bylaw might pass, if a zoning bylaw goes forward to town meeting and is not successful, then we have a two year wait before it can be brought back,” he said.

It will take a petition from just ten taxpayers to put it on the warrant.

Voters will have their say regarding a general bylaw article, which is basically the same as the zoning amendment. It needs just a majority to pass, while the zoning change would have needed the approval of two-thirds of town meeting voters.

Nicastro pointed out that there is one related issue that cannot be addressed by the town, even though retail sales are fair game.

“We can’t prohibit the individual use of marijuana. That was approved by the voters. We’re allowed to refer the matter to town meeting for a prohibition,” he said.

The decision of the planning board to not endorse the amendment was the result of a tie vote, with those voting against it saying it was an overreach.

Medicinal marijuana will not be affected if the bylaw article passes.

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