The following information is from the Coalition for Sensible Cannabis Regulation and doesn't necessarily represent the views and opinions of WSBS Radio. 

The Coalition for Sensible Cannabis Regulation is asking Great Barrington constituents to support all the planning board positions on cannabis at the Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15. The Coalition urges voters to come to the meeting in order to prevent a small group of residents from overturning key regulations that help the Town.

The meeting will be held in a “drive in” set up at Monument Mountain Regional High School at 6 p.m. Up for vote are three articles pertaining to cannabis enterprises in the Town. The Coalition, which includes Great Barrington residents, voters and business owners, is in favor of two of the articles and is against a third that has been proposed by a citizens’ petition.

Article 25 adds an amendment to the Town’s current marijuana establishments zoning bylaw that will limit the total number of cannabis dispensary permits to no more than seven, the same as the number of current retail liquor licenses.

Article 27 will allow Great Barrington’s Select Board to permit cannabis manufacturing (but not cannabis cultivation) in the downtown I-2 zone by special permit process with the Select Board as the granting authority. Articles 25 and 27 are recommended by the Town Planning Board as well as the Coalition.

Article 28, a citizens’ petition, proposes an amendment to current zoning bylaws regulating recreational cannabis establishments to include a 500-foot setback for dispensaries from a pre-existing public or private school, providing education in kindergarten or any of grades 1-12, childcare facilities including preschools and daycare centers, or any facility in which children currently congregate, including but not limited to a public library, playground, park, athletic field or recreational facility, a place of worship or a town-owned beach. The zoning limit for dispensaries is currently capped at 200 feet from existing K-12 schools.

The proposed setback of 500 feet changes the zoning in an extreme way that would freeze cannabis dispensaries in the downtown area. It will eliminate future projects downtown and throughout much of the Route 7 corridor and may also affect currently permitted dispensaries. The citizens’ petition seeks to reverse zoning ordinances that have been in place since 2018, when passed by a more than 2/3 vote in favor at the Annual Town Meeting.

Proponents of the Coalition believe the proposed bylaw revision will effectively limit existing business and thwart any further cannabis enterprise in Great Barrington, particularly in the downtown business corridor. Article 28 is not recommended by the Town Planning Board or by the Coalition.

For more information, voters are invited to go to go here.

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