By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Westborough voters in the March 7 Annual Town Election overwhelming voted to prohibit all commercial businesses related to recreational marijuana, 1,192 to 294.
In the November 2016 state election, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure that allows for the legalization of recreational marijuana. While 54 percent of the state voted for the measure, Westborough voters did not.
The law provides for an opt-out provision which requires towns to amend their bylaws to prohibit non-medical-related marijuana businesses. That is generally construed as a ballot question. However, in Westborough, Town Meeting is the legislative body. So at the Board of Selectmen’s Jan. 10 meeting, the board approved presenting the question at both the Annual Town Election as well as the March 18 Annual Town Meeting to ensure that the vote would be valid.
The bylaw would prohibit all commercial businesses related to marijuana, including marijuana cultivation, marijuana testing facilities, marijuana product manufacturing, marijuana retailers, or any other type of licensed marijuana-related businesses. This proposal would not prohibit the personal use of marijuana or growing of marijuana at a residence, as permitted by law.
There were only two contested races in the election. Lisa R. Edinberg received the most votes in the race for two spots on the school committee, with 1,105. David Crandall, with 730 votes, defeated Neil Feldman who received 667 votes.
In the race for three open spots on the Trustees of the Public Library, Dorothy S. Mello received 1,053; Patricia J. Fontes received 1,051; and William E. Linnane received 798. The fourth candidate, Eric D. Waite, received 605 votes.
Incumbent Ian P. Johnson ran unopposed in the race for Board of Selectmen.
Other races featured only one candidate as well including Town Moderator – John E. Arnold; Town Clerk – Wendy L. Mikel; Planning Board (five year term) – James N. Ball; and Planning Board (one year term) – Hazel W. Nourse.