BOS, CAASA likely to seek ban on retail pot shops

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It appears likely that the Canton Board of Selectmen, in conjunction with the Canton Alliance Against Substance Abuse (CAASA), will sponsor a 2018 town meeting article prohibiting retail marijuana shops in Canton.

Attorney Rich Hucksam of the town counsel’s office informed selectmen on Tuesday night that because the town as a whole voted against the state referendum to legalize marijuana last November, under the revised state law, Canton can prohibit retail marijuana shops with an affirmative town meeting vote. If Canton had voted for the bill, another ballot referendum would have been needed.

Canton, through a recent town meeting vote, did establish a moratorium on retail shops until June 30, 2018, in an effort to give the state time to establish new requirements and regulations. However, Hucksam felt that the state would not allow another moratorium past that date. He added that the town would be allowed to implement a 3 percent tax on retail marijuana sales if they were permitted in Canton.

After Hucksam presented his analysis of the updated state regulations, CAASA Chairman and Fire Chief Charles Doody indicated that his group will pursue a ban of retail sales at the next town meeting. Selectmen Chairman John Connolly said after the meeting that while the board has not held a formal vote, he personally feels that the members will support it. Selectman Tom Theodore also said he would favor the prohibition following comments by Doody and CAASA member Harriett Burak, who lost her son, Michael, to an opioid overdose in 2004.

Doody and Connolly mentioned that two young men from Canton died last week from substance abuse-related causes. Burak said young people’s brains are not ready to handle marijuana and added from her research that every heroin addict starts with marijuana. She has been attending several district attorney coalition meetings to gather more information. CAASA will be hosting a community forum on the opioid epidemic on October 17 at the Canton Public Library.

Also on Tuesday night, selectmen and the Board of Health …

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