By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Westborough voters will go to the polls Tuesday, March 7, for the town’s Annual Election. And while there are only two contested races, voters will also be asked to vote on one controversial issue – should the town prohibit all commercial businesses related to marijuana.
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.
In December, the state legislature voted to delay sales of recreational marijuana for six months. Originally set to begin Jan. 1, 2018, the new date will be July 1, 2018.
The law provides for an opt-out provision which requires towns to amend their bylaws to prohibit non-medical-related marijuana businesses.
At the Westborough Board of Selectmen’s Jan. 10 meeting, the board approved presenting the question of should the town prohibit the operation of all types of commercial marijuana establishments to the voters on the March 7 ballot as well as at the March 18 Annual Town Meeting.
If approved, 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.
Candidates for elective office in the March 7 election include incumbents Ian P. Johnson, running unopposed for one position on the Board of Selectmen; John E. Arnold for town moderator and Wendy L. Mickel for town clerk. The Planning Board has two open positions, a one-year term and a five-year term. Running for the one-year spot is Hazel W. Nourse, and for the five-year position is James N. Ball.
The School Committee has three candidates running for two positions – David Crandall, Lisa R. Edinberg and Neil L. Feldman.
The Trustees of Public Library has four candidates running for three open positions – Dorothy S. Mello, Patricia J. Fontes, William E. Linnane and Eric D. Waite.
The candidates will take part in a Candidates Forum, sponsored by the Westborough Democratic Town Committee, Sunday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. at the Willows, 1 Lyman St.
“This is a great opportunity to hear from those candidates seeking your vote in March and to ask questions of the candidates,” commented Kate Donaghue, chair of the sponsoring group. “We very much appreciate the citizens who serve the town so generously and who take the time meet with voters at Candidates Forum.”
The Westborough Democratic Town Committee sponsors this event every year as a service to the town and to encourage voters to become participants in the election process.
“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” Donaghue noted.
The Westborough Democratic Town Committee is the local organization of the Democratic Party. For more information on the Town Committee or the Candidates Forum, contact Donaghue at 508-404-8531 or KateDonaghue@aol.com.