Westport Voters Ban Non-Medical Marijuana Sales
Westport voters on Saturday re-established a ban on non-medical marijuana sales, reversing a vote taken just eight months ago that lifted the ban.
Voters at an outdoor Town Meeting approved two articles -- one to re-enact a prior ban on adult-use cannabis businesses, and another to prevent medical marijuana facilities from expanding into non-medical sales.
Supporters said that a ban or moratorium would give the Planning Board time to study zoning pertinent to siting marijuana facilities. The Planning Board had been working on zoning issues before the February vote to lift the ban.
Police Chief Keith Pelletier spoke in favor of the ban, saying the town is "not ready for recreational marijuana." According to The Herald News, Pelletier stated that a driver who allegedly caused a fatal crash on State Road that took the life of a child had confessed to being under the influence of marijuana.
“We are handcuffed and we are not ready. The town is not ready for recreational marijuana,” Pelletier is quoted as saying.
Selectman Brian Valcourt predicted at least one lawsuit over Saturday’s vote. An entity known as Coastal Healing is now building a medical marijuana facility on State Road. Proprietor Diego Bernard last February pushed to lift the ban so he could sell adult-use cannabis. Coastal Healing has already won site plan approval and a special permit from the Planning Board. Bernard said it is financially challenging to operate a medical-only cannabis facility and that he has done everything by the books.
Town Meeting on Saturday also approved a debt exclusion to replace the aging roof on the Westport Elementary School.