A new citizen petition proposes banning the retail sale of recreational marijuana in Harvard. Planning Board members discussed the petition with its sponsors, Theresa Hoggins and Bill Medeiros, at the board’s March 4 meeting.
Hoggins stated that she expects the petition to succeed when it is voted on at the 2019 Annual Town Meeting in May. “When I talk to people, they are surprised and upset to learn that a pot shop could open in our town,” she told the board.
This petition would modify the marijuana zoning bylaw approved at the 2018 Annual Town Meeting to exclude retail establishments from the list of permitted marijuana businesses. Other uses, such as cultivation, manufacture, and medical sale, would still be allowed. Coil Brothers LLC, a marijuana manufacturing company that has been granted a license to operate in Harvard, would not be affected by this petition.
Hoggins is also championing a different citizen petition, proposing a full ban of all marijuana-related commercial activity. Unlike the retail ban petition, the full ban does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Planning Board. This is because it would change Harvard’s general bylaw, unlike the retail ban that changes the town’s zoning bylaw. Both petitions will be voted on at the 2019 Annual Town Meeting.
The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the retail ban petition at its April 1 meeting, which may be continued to subsequent meetings.