Vermont Town May Vote to Ban Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

So far, the measure would only apply to medical marijuana dispensaries, as recreational retail is not yet legal in the state.
Vermont Town May Vote to Ban Medical Cannabis Dispensaries
Teri Virbickis/ Shutterstock

The town of Killington, Vermont is mulling a proposed ordinance that would ban medical cannabis dispensaries from locating there. The proposal would also set penalties for the use of marijuana in a public place within city limits.

“The purpose of this dispensary ordinance, there’s been some discussion about the medical marijuana side and having dispensaries in town,” Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth told local media.

Hagenbarth said that he drafted the ordinance after the subject of medical marijuana dispensaries was discussed at a meeting of the Killington Select Board. The proposed ordinance was discussed by the Select Board at its meeting on July 16. The board decided, without a vote, to hold a public hearing on the ordinance. The hearing has been scheduled for the Select Board meeting to be held on August 20.

Town Leaders Seek Public Input

Although a public hearing is not required for the board to pass the ordinance, Hagenbarth said that the practice has been recommended and is typical for the community. If the ordinance is passed by the board, the town manager said it would not go into effect for 60 days, giving any residents who may be opposed to the plan to file a petition to put the ordinance up for a vote by the people.

“The intent is someone could petition the town to have a town meeting to try to get it repealed if that’s what they wanted to do,” Hagenbarth said. “I think the better option is to make sure we get enough input from the townspeople before we pass it.”

The ordinance bans the “establishment, opening, operation or location of a Dispensary in the Town of Killington, Vermont” and prohibits “consumption of Marijuana in a Public Place, including on any property or in any building or structure owned or controlled by the Town of Killington.” Violations of the ordinance would be subject to a fine of up to $500.

If passed, the ordinance would only ban the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries in Killington. Retail outlets for recreational cannabis are not yet permitted in Vermont, although possession and use of cannabis by adults is no longer illegal in the state.

The Vermont legislature considered a bill that would regulate and tax retail sales of recreational cannabis, but the measure failed to gain enough support to pass. Some towns including Clarendon, Vermont have already preemptively banned recreational cannabis shops within their borders in anticipation of a similar measure eventually succeeding.

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