Questions remain about local control over pot shops

Unclear what communities will be able to decide and how

Snoop Dogg marijuana in jars
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Recreational marijuana is legal, and the next step is establishing retail pot shops. But what if a city or town does not want them? These communities do have a say, but the state is trying to clarify the process.

Cities and towns say that the current policy is unclear as to whether retail pot shops can be limited or banned altogether. It is also unclear whether it should be accomplished through a city/town council vote, or a referendum vote by all residents. It is also unclear whether it should be followed by the creation of a bylaw or town ordinance.

West Springfield was one of only seven western Massachusetts communities that voted “no” on Question 4 this past November. 22News spoke with people who say that municipalities should have local control.

“Definitely the residents. They are paying taxes. High taxes here in West Springfield and it just seems like a lot of times our voices are not heard. Whether it’s over new schools or what we allow in our town,” JoAnn Dion of West Springfield said.

The state has come up with the wording for a uniform ballot question that a community that may want to opt-out of retail pot shops can use. A panel of state lawmakers met in West Springfield last week for their listening tour to discuss possibly giving cities and towns more power.