What can you do as a citizen to change the outcome of cannabis bans in your cities and towns? I recently began a quest to find out this exact thing, as these sweeping bans have gotten to be laughable. So far this is what I have found out; according to the secretary of state’s website http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cistwn/twnidx.htm citizens of cities and towns that are registered voters may insert articles into the warrant. An article is an issue that will be posed to voters and a warrant contains all of the articles that either an annual town meeting or a special town meeting will contain. With 10 signatures and addresses of registered voters providing the warrant is still open, (call your town manager to check), citizens have the opportunity to include issues on the docket that are important to them. This may be a very real opportunity to repeal and replace the cannabis bans. I am not a lawyer nor political specialist, but I am always thirsty for the truth. I hope this bit of info. can help people overturn bans in their neck of the woods, or at least pave the way for new and appropriate tactics to end the banning madness already! The newest ban in my hometown of Bourne where I grew up, struck a big nerve with me. Combined with the recent bans in Barnstable, Orleans and the ban in my own town of Sandwich, I have had enough of the insanity. I know the people have the power to make changes in the entire system, but first we have to figure out how the political system works.
You see, the local political system is so very outdated that most of us never even knew about upcoming special town meetings that included a question to ban legal adult use cannabis in our towns. I see comments on facebook almost daily that citizens are not only shocked that they were not aware a town meeting took place with banning cannabis on the docket, but also that a ban happened in the first place. Since we the people voted to have legal cannabis businesses come to our towns in 2016, many of us thought we would not have such an uphill battle ahead of us. My main gripe with the system is first, it’s antiquated technique of placing the notice of upcoming meetings either in the paper or in the library. Let’s be honest, the majority of people under 50 have no need to buy a paper nor do they go to the the library very often. Most of get our news from t.v., radio, and articles that are shared on google or facebook. My second gripe is the fact that town officials are only required to give two weeks notice for upcoming special town meetings, where many important issues such as voting on cannabis bans occur. Another fail on the part of the local governmental system. Two weeks is just not enough time to get the word out to all registered voters. Believe you me, town officials with particular agendas (for example banning progressive and responsible things such as legal adult use cannabis business) use these antiquated systems to their advantage. They know that the majority of people will not show up to vote because not only do most people 50 and under have very busy lives and didn’t get the memo that a special town meeting was even happening in the first place, but they also have families and work and have no say when a town meeting would happen.
All is not lost however, I have education and know how in my pocket now as do you:) My town has not heard the last of me, oh no they have not!! So why are towns banning cannabis? The root of the problem lies in the reefer madness mentality of legal counsel the towns have hired. For example, on Cape Cod many towns that have banned cannabis businesses, have been influenced by their legal counsel tactics. They have convinced the board of selectmen to add articles to the warrant to place bans on cannabis business in towns. Did you know that all of this sheisty behavior is happening all around you? I sure didn’t until I became part of the process myself. You bet your bippy I showed up to my own town’s meeting even though I only got wind of it two days prior through a meeting I attended in Brewster. As if public speaking isn’t terrifying enough, I also stood up to speak during public comment when the article to ban came up. Luckily I was educated and armed with pertinent facts thanks to the informative cannabis meeting I had attended in Brewster two days prior. The meeting was put on by Regulate Cape Cod to inform citizens on data and facts associated with the legal adult use cannabis market. Some of the most outstanding minds in the adult use legal cannabis movement in MA spoke at the meeting, including Jim Borghesani, the yes on 4 campaign spokesmen, Richard Elrick Esq., a long time cannabis activist and former town counselor of Barnstable, and Micheal Dundas owner of Sira Naturals medical and adult use cannabis dispensary/store. Thanks to their efforts, they successfully knocked down the potential ban on Cannabis business in Brewster, score! See guys we can change the scene with a little ingenuity and know how. Don’t give up!