East Longmeadow joins Wilbraham in banning commercial recreational marijuana industry

EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – East Longmeadow is now the second western Massachusetts community to ban the commercial marijuana business.

Despite marijuana being a controversial topic, voter turnout was low. Only 16% of the town’s registered voters came to the polls.

Both Wilbraham and East Longmeadow said NO to legal recreational marijuana in November. The law passed anyway. Now, the two towns are leveraging the power they have left. Banning pot shops. Wilbraham was first.

“I work with young adults as a volunteer and I just think it is a starting ground for something that, you don’t want to go there and I think it leads to more serious drug abuse and I just don’t think that there is enough research done yet to see how they are going to monitor or regulate it yet,” said Carolyn Brennan of Wilbraham.

Once regulated by the state, retail pot shops will start popping up in Massachusetts in about a year. But not in East Longmeadow. The vote bans the commercial recreational marijuana business — eliminating extra tax revenue along with it.

“Everything is generated or gravitated by the dollars. By money. That’s not the way to look at it. I think one thing leads to another and these kids don’t know what they are getting in to. They are looking for a quick high,” explained Phil Rapisarda of East Longmeadow.

Only 16% of the towns registered voters came out to cast a ballot and of those who did, 70% voted ‘NO’. 22News found someone who voted ‘YES’ and we asked them why.

Paul Dillon, East Longmeadow:
“What’s the point of having it legal if you can’t buy it anywhere,” said East Longmeadow resident Paul Dillon. “That’s the bottom line for me. You read about it. It helps seizures. It might mellow out a lot of people.”

Tuesday’s vote does not ban medical marijuana dispensaries, nor does it impact people’s right to grow pot in their own home.