ORLEANS — There will be a third article dealing with marijuana at the Oct. 29 special town meeting. A proposed bylaw that would prohibit retail sale of marijuana was checked in at the selectmen's office Sept. 14, hours before the warrant closed. Steve Bornemeier, a former planning board member, and others gathered more than 150 signatures in support, more than the required 100; those have since been certified by the town clerk. The prohibition would not apply to medical marijuana sales, distribution or cultivation.
“There is a groundswell of Orleans residents who feel that retail marijuana sales are wholly inconsistent with the values and character of this small seaside town,” Bornemeier said in an interview Tuesday. “That's the purpose of this warrant article: to give voice to those residents who feel so strongly about this.”
The article is not intended to address all eight separate uses, such as cultivation and transportation, according to Bornemeier. “It's just to address the strong feeling that marijuana retailers would be inconsistent with the character of Orleans,” he said. Such a business “is not a reflection of our values and a desire for place where young children grow up without that kind of temptation or exposure. That's not to say this will not be available elsewhere on the Cape. This is not a part of the culture of Orleans.”
At last May's annual town meeting, voters rejected a ban on recreational sales and cultivation by 150 to 80. They also said no to an extension of a moratorium on retail marijuana establishments (111 to 94).
“All the voters have ever done, including the time (the town) voted against the state (ballot question legalizing sales), is to decline to approve this,” Bornemeier said. “There's never been any mandate or favorable outcome of any issue before them. I think it's wrong to say we're going against any trend. The voters have declined to do anything about this issue.”
Bornemeier emphasized the proposed amendment is focused solely on retail sales. “This does not address other features of the law,” he said.
The selectmen planned to vote on special town meeting warrant articles at their meeting last night (Sept. 19).