By Paul Gately
The Bourne Planning Board will conduct a public hearing March 22 into an emergency Special Town Meeting Warrant article crafted to regulate the commercial sales of recreational marijuana in town, should an outright ban not prevail with voters.
The hearing may be difficult, if a brief and informal last-minute board discussion on March 8 was any indication.
Board chairman Elmer Clegg advised his members the upcoming discussion should be about the zoning-control aspects of the article, not individual sentiment about the use of marijuana.
Clegg urged his membership to visit the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s websites to update themselves on the recreational marijuana usage law as it has evolved to date.
Board member Bill Grant signaled his displeasure with the process to date in forwarding the marijuana article. He said the article is advancing without a great deal of supporting information, including how much revenue commercial marijuana sales might generate in Bourne taxes.
“I say no, procedurally,” Grant said about the pending vote on the warrant article. He called the entire review process to date “a dumpster fire”, noting that the March 22 hearing would come just three days before the start of Town Meeting.
Grant asked about a board decision going to Town Meeting voters on March 26, especially because the selectmen “dropped the ball” between last September and late February in preparing an emergency meeting to ask voters if they want to permanently ban recreational marijuana sales.
Town Planner Coreen Moore said the planning board is “legally bound” to provide a report to voters, complete with details about when the hearing was held and whether the board voted positively or negatively in its article recommendation.
Moore said the report to voters might not include a positive article recommendation to the