St. J Select Board Re-Opening Discussion About Marijuana Retail Sales

A worker processes marijuana in the trimming room at the Medicine Man dispensary and grow operation in northeast Denver. (AP File Photo/Ed Andrieski)

It looks like the St. Johnsbury Select Board is reconsidering its position on the question of whether to allow a marijuana dispensary in town.

According to the state’s new marijuana legalization law, retail pot shops can be opened in communities as long as they are approved by the voters. That approval would likely be sought through a question placed on the annual town meeting ballot in March either by citizen petition or select board vote.

In November, the board said anyone who wanted the marijuana question put before St. Johnsbury’s voters at town meeting would have to do so by petition.

But on Monday, St. Johnsbury Selectman Dennis Smith suggested a different approach based on the very different times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the interest of fairness, would the board be interested in re-opening the question of the marijuana dispensary?” said Selectman Smith during the other business segment of the meeting. “Earlier I made a motion to require anyone interested in that to get a petition signed. Due to the fact that candidates running for office don’t have to get a petition this year - would the board entertain the idea of putting it on the ballot for town meeting?”

Select Board Chairman Tim Angell said he agreed the topic should be discussed again at the board’s next meeting.

“I don’t have an issue placing that back on the agenda for another discussion,” said Angell.

It would have taken approximately 350 resident signatures to get the marijuana question on the town meeting ballot by public petition.

“I don’t have a dog in this fight,” said Smith. “I still don’t see a huge benefit to the town financially. But again, if there is interest, in the interest of fairness, perhaps we should put it on the ballot and let the voters decide rather than let it die.”

In December, the Lyndon Select Board voted unanimously to add the marijuana question to its town meeting ballot.

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