Wait, didn’t we already vote on this?
Yes, we did vote on this back in September. However, to comply with state law, the Massachusetts Attorney General recommended that Milford hold another town-wide vote to confirm the amended recreational marijuana bylaw approved at Town Meeting in October.
This is largely a procedural vote, but it is essential and important. So please come out and vote again … … and, just like last time, please vote YES.
How did we get here?
In a Special Election last September, Milford voters passed a bylaw to prevent all recreational marijuana businesses from opening in the town. (See the results below.)
When the bylaw went to Town Meeting for final approval, an amendment was introduced to provide an exemption to protect two medical marijuana companies–Sira Naturals (formerly Sage Naturals) and ProVerde Laboratories–tat where already operating in Milford.
By a vote of 171-7, Town Meeting members overwhelmingly supported the amended bylaw. The Milford Board of Selectmen has also unanimously supported amended bylaw.
Now, to ensure compliance with state law and deter potential legal challenges, it was the Attorney General’s recommendation that Milford residents needed to vote again to approve this amended version.
IMPORTANT: Neither the September 2017 vote nor the March 6, 2018 vote changes the rights of Massachusetts residents to possess, grow, and use either medical or recreational marijuana as allowed under state law. Furthermore, per our Mission Statement, Milford CARES respects these rights.
Click on a category or scroll down to read and learn more.
Recreational Marijuana in Massachusetts
Milford’s Ballot Question
Milford’s Allowed Marijuana Zones
What’s Happening in Surrounding Communities?
Community Impacts of Recreational Marijuana:
• Our Kids’ Health
• Public Safety
• Integrity of Our Community
Information Sources and Websites
Fact Sheets and Documents
About Milford CARES
Supporters and Statements
Frequently Asked Questions
Editor’s Note: If you have additional authoritative resources to share, please send an email to: MilfordMACARES@gmail.com.
Recreational Marijuana in Massachusetts
Massachusetts voters approved the use of recreational marijuana through Ballot Question 4 in November 2016. This law allows adults 21 and over to possess, grow, and use marijuana for recreational purposes.
Possession and use of medicinal marijuana as recommended by a doctor was legalized in Massachusetts in 2012. Per Massachusetts law medicinal marijuana can only be purchased at a medical marijuana treatment center.
Massachusetts and Maine will be the first states in New England to legalize the use and sales of recreational marijuana. Other than Washington, D.C., no other states along the East Coast have legalized recreational marijuana. Recreational sales will be legal in Maine in February 2018. Sales in Massachusetts will be legal July 2018.
Read the Massachusetts Report of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana, published March 8, 2016. This committee was created to research and analyze the policy ramifications regarding the adult recreational use and sale of marijuana. The analysis includes lessons learned from other states, as well as specific concerns regarding public health, public safety, and economic and fiscal issues.
Milford’s Ballot Question
The ballot question to be voted on September 19th in Milford has NO IMPACT on anyone’s personal freedom to possess, grow, and consume medical marijuana OR recreational marijuana. The question provides Milford voters the opportunity to opt out of hosting recreational marijuana establishments in our community. This option to allow local control was included in the Massachusetts legislation that was approved by voters.
Editor’s Note: The following ballot sample is the final version, which was changed due to the revised state legislation signed by Governor Baker on July 28, 2017.
To download and print a copy of the sample ballot, click here.
Milford’s Allowed Marijuana Zones
Milford Town Meeting on May 22, 2017 passed Article 34, which as amended and approved, allows recreational marijuana establishments (cultivators, testing facilities, product manufacturers, retailers, and other recreational marijuana businesses) to operate within the IB and IC industrial zones (ALL areas highlighted in green on this map), with the additional restriction that no marijuana establishment shall be located within 200 feet of a residential zone, dwelling unit, school, place of worship, church, park, playground, or youth center.
Measurements to determine the 200’ separation shall be taken from property lines. Where any portion of a lot is within a required separation, the entire lot shall be considered to be within the required separation.
Editor’s Note: This map comes directly from the town website with our highlighting added. Because of the map’s size, the most northern part of Milford—residential areas north of Whitewood and Upper Purchase—are not included. Businesses and establishments noted in red on the map are placed to show the types of businesses currently operating in (or very close to) the IB and IC zones.
What’s Happening in Surrounding CommunitIES?
Some communities surrounding Milford have voted to ban the retail sales of marijuana: Foxborough, Holliston, Medfield, Medway, Southborough, Walpole, Westborough.
Other nearby communities have enacted moratoriums: Ashland, Hopkinton, Bellingham, Mansfield, Millbury, Northbridge, Shrewsbury.
The towns of Hopedale and Upton are currently reviewing how to proceed. Franklin, like Milford, has implemented zoning regulations.
Check out an interactive map of Massachusetts to see what is happening in each community here. (Hint: You may need to scroll down to the second map on this web page to use the interactive feature.)
Impact on Our Kids’ Health
I am concerned about the access of marijuana to kids. The levels of THC are much higher in marijuana than they were even a decade ago. There is quality research beginning to show the negative long-term effects of THC on a developing adolescent brain. It doesn’t make sense to increase the risk of potential use by adolescents by increasing the availability of marijuana in our community.
~ Lisa White RN, Wellness Coordinator, Milford Public Schools
Underage consumption of recreational marijuana is more common and consequential than you might imagine. And as noted in the Massachusetts Report of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana, “Even with strong safeguards in place, legalization may increase the accessibility of marijuana for youth and contribute to the growing perception among youth that marijuana is safe for them to consume.”
“Legalizing Marijuana Not Good for Kids: American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Explained” by Claire McCarthy, MD, FAAP on HealthyChildren.org, 26 January 2015.
“The AAP Believes Youth Should Not Use Marijuana. There is a popular perception that marijuana isn’t dangerous—but it is dangerous, both in the short term and the long term.”
“Legalizing of Marijuana Raises Health Concerns” in The New York Times, 7 January 2013.
Dr. Staci Gruber, PhD, Director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital, on the dangers of marijuana use in teens and young adults, whose brains are still developing. “The frontal cortex is the last part of the brain to come online, and the most important,” said Dr. Gruber. “Early exposure perhaps changes the trajectory of brain development, such that ability to perform complex executive function tasks is compromised.”
Findings reported in the US Surgeon General’s report include: long-term health consequences of marijuana use, other serious health-related issues stemming from marijuana use, increased risk for traffic accidents, increased risk of schizophrenia, increased risk of addiction from high-potency marijuana available in legalized states, and permanent loss of IQ.
“The Pot Vote” Sixty Minutes transcript that aired 30 October 2016.
Dr. Jon LaPook visits Pueblo, Colorado, a town that knows firsthand the impact of the legal weed business.
“Edible Marijuana Dangers: How Parents Can Prevent Pot Poisoning” by Committee on Substance Use and Prevention: American Academy of Pediatrics on HealthyChildren.org, 27 February 2017.
With marijuana now legal for medical or recreational use in more than half of U.S. states, the availability of pastries, candy and other tempting treats infused with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is on the rise—and so is the accidental poisoning risk these products pose to children who get ahold of them.
“How to Regulate Marijuana Edibles” on CBS Boston, 3 May 2016.
“Of the roughly 2000 visits per week at the University of Colorado ER, marijuana related illness make up a pretty small portion, only a handful each week. Since legalization, the number is on the rise. Most of the ER visits are due to edibles. Marijuana in food has delayed effects and is often more potent than smoked marijuana. That entices some users to eat too much before it kicks in.”
“The Hidden Dangers of Marijuana Edibles” by Robert Glatter, MD, on Forbes, 27 July 2015.
The sobering story of a teenager in Colorado who died as a result of eating a cookie containing extremely high levels of THC “offers a stark reminder about the potential risks associated with consuming edibles rapidly, serving as a reminder of its delayed effects (1-2 hours), as opposed to smoking it (5-10 minutes).”
“Why does Seth Rogen hate marijuana edibles?” on NYDailyNews.com, 21 July 2017.
Actor and comedian Seth Rogen speaks out on the perils of EDIBLE MARIJUANA. “I’ve done a lot of drugs in my life. The most negative drug experiences I’ve ever had in my life are from weed edibles.” He further states, “No amount of [Ecstasy] he’s done makes him feel more [messed] up than having one bite too many of a weed brownie.”
Impact on Public Safety
As veteran police officers, we believe that allowing the delivery, sales, transfer, growing, cultivating, processing and manufacturing of marijuana, and its derivatives would have a detrimental impact upon the citizens of Massachusetts for a variety of reasons.
The proponents of marijuana legalization would have voters believe that draconian drug laws have resulted in the arrest of people for possessing pot, but that’s not true. First of all, since 1975 possession of marijuana offenses in Massachusetts were automatically dismissed and the records were sealed. And since 2009, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana has been “decriminalized” and people caught with weed are issued a $100 citation. In fact, as a result of decriminalization police officers have lost the authority to search vehicles for marijuana in all but the most extraordinary cases.
The proponents would also have you believe that allowing marijuana sales would cut into the profits of organized crime, but that’s not what has happened elsewhere. Our colleagues in Colorado have seen drug dealers come from other states to take advantage of the fact that people there can now buy pot legally. And given the choice between buying it in a store where it is “regulated” and taxed, and getting it on the street where no tax is paid, customers are attracted to the street. Colorado is not making the tax income voters had hoped.
~ Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association (Read the full statement here.)
Impaired driving is a major public safety threat, and no reliable sobriety test yet exists for testing drivers. The black market will likely thrive (as it does in Colorado), even after legalization and commercialization “due to the significant profits to be gained from meeting demand (of adults and youth) across New England, as well as the ease of growing marijuana and the difficulty that law enforcement would face in enforcing home growing limits.” (Report of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana)
Because marijuana continues to be illegal on the federal level, “the industry still relies heavily on cash for many transactions and is unable to obtain bank loans or lines of credit, raising security concerns.” (Report of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana) Marijuana-related crimes range from burglaries of cash and product to energy theft (Yes, energy theft).
“Car collisions skyrocket involving people driving high on legalized pot” by on WWLP.com News (Western MA) on 22 June 2017.
“Unpacking Pot’s Impact in Colorado” by Vanessa Schipani on FactCheck.org, 19 August 2016.
“Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 154% between 2006 and 2014; Colorado emergency room hospital visits that were “likely related” to marijuana increased by 77 % from 2011 to 2014.” This analysis digs deep into the research and demonstrates how some statistics can sometimes be fuzzy, making the actual impact of marijuana use challenging to ascertain.
“Marijuana’s Legalization Fuels Black Market in Other States” by Trevor Hughes on USAToday.com, 1 August 2017.
“Marijuana smugglers are growing and shipping vast quantities of illicit cannabis across the USA. They’re mailing it, driving it and, in at least one case, flying it around in skydiving planes. They’re hiding it in truck beds and trunks and vacuum-sealing it to hide the smell as they pass police officers patrolling the interstates. Many are starting in states where growing marijuana is legal, such as Colorado, and sending the drug elsewhere.”
“Colorado marijuana market funds busts of illegal growers” by Kristen Wyatt on Boston Globe 8 June 2017.
“Rural communities have also attracted some high-profile illicit drug operators accused of trying to exploit Colorado’s pot law to produce marijuana for sale out of state. ”
“Colorado’s War on Black Market Weed” by Carol McKinley on Daily Beast 25 March 2017.
Legalizing marijuana in Colorado was supposed to obliterate the pot black market there. Instead, a loophole in medical marijuana laws has done exactly the opposite.
“Why Legal Marijuana Businesses Are Still Cash-Only” on Governing.com 22 March 2016.
“All the cash floating around makes cannabis businesses targets for crime. … Since Colorado fully legalized marijuana in January 2014, the Denver Police Department has logged over 200 burglaries at marijuana businesses, as well as shoplifting and other crimes.”
Impact on the Integrity of Our Community
I am greatly concerned about, not only the impact on real estate values that retail marijuana shops will have on surrounding properties (both commercial and residential), but also the impact these businesses will have on the perception of Milford. We already have a perception issue. … Having retail marijuana shops will continue to work against the image of our town, which will have more of a negative impact not only on real estate values but the image of our community and even our school system.
~ Joshua Lioce, Team Leader of The Lioce Team
Milford CARES believes that allowing recreational marijuana retail establishments to locate and operate here presents a threat to the integrity, character, and reputation of our family community—a community that boasts a rich, multi-cultural heritage; excellent schools; many houses of worship; outstanding sports programs and facilities; a world-class symphony; numerous cultural and civic organizations; an award-winning regional hospital; and a walking and biking trail that is the envy of other communities.
- A number of surrounding communities have enacted bans or moratoriums, which makes Milford even more vulnerable to becoming a “pot shop” destination.
- Welcoming recreational marijuana establishments into our community may normalize marijuana consumption in the eyes of our young people and contribute to a growing perception that marijuana is safe. (Report of the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana)
- Massachusetts and Maine will be the first states in New England to legalize the use and sales of recreational marijuana. Milford’s central Massachusetts location (with two exits off I-495) makes us vulnerable to businesses that are focused on servicing the needs of travelers on their way to the mountains of New Hampshire or the beaches of Cape Cod.
- The industrial zones in which Milford has approved the operation of recreational marijuana establishments are more extensive than most people may realize and include many gateways into Milford from surrounding communities.
- Life-long residents remember that the Milford community
worked tirelessly to address a drug problem back in the
1970s, a problem that was so pervasive that comedian
Johnny Carson listed Milford, Massachusetts as one of
the nation’s top three drug hot spots on
“The Tonight Show.” Do we want to risk marring our
reputation by welcoming pot shops?
We can respect the law and the rights of Massachusetts residents to possess, grow, and consume both medical and recreational marijuana as provided under state law without jeopardizing the integrity of our family community. As Selectman Mike Walsh stated on June 29, 2017, “We need to stand together. We need to make sure people get out and vote on [the September 19th] referendum. We need to send the same message the town of Westborough sent. Not in Milford. We don’t want it. It doesn’t belong here.”
“Is Pot Losing Its Buzz in Colorado? A backlash is growing in a state where marijuana has quickly become a $1 billion legal business.” by Jennifer Alsever in Fortune Magazine, 29 June 2016.
“Now, as citizen groups attempt to put the brakes on the growing industry, a heated debate has emerged about the drug’s societal impact. Doctors report a spike in pot-related emergency room visits—mostly due to people accidentally consuming too much of potent edible pot products. Police face new cartel-related drug operations. Parents worry about marijuana being sold near their homes and schools. And less affluent communities like Pueblo struggle with the unintended consequences of becoming home to this emerging and controversial industry.“
“Neighbors: Marijuana Grow House Smelling Up Commerce City Neighborhood” by Jaclyn Allen on the DenverChannel.com, 24 January 2015.
“You can’t sell your house if you’re right next to a grow house because people are going to smell that and be like, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to smell that all the time.'”
“Taking a Trip, Literally, on Colorado’s Pot Trail” by Alan Feuer in The New York Times, 14 April 2016.
“[Colorado’s] “green rush,” as everybody calls it, is a billion-dollar enterprise of hydroponic grow labs and artisanal dispensaries, but the tourist infrastructure that’s emerged to stoke you up and squire you around to see it all operates on a fairly simple principle: Everything is better when you’re high. … At a certain point, I started to suspect that the city’s reefer tourist moguls were getting their clients high mainly for the purpose of relieving them of their money.”
Information Sources and Websites
The Marijuana Policy Initiative: Marijuana-Policy.org
A volunteer non-partisan coalition of people from across the US and Canada who have come to understand the negative local-to-global public health and safety implications of an organized, legal, freely-traded, commercialized and industrialized marijuana market.
Massachusetts Medical Society: MassMed.org
The Massachusetts Medical Society is the statewide professional association for physicians and medical students. We are dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts.
MAPA (Massachusetts Prevention Alliance) MaPreventionAlliance.org
MAPA is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 organization that provides educational resources and advocates for sound drug and alcohol policies to protect the health and well-being of all Massachusetts youth.
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) LearnAboutSam.org
SAM is an alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy. Members are professionals working in mental health and public health. The group is bipartisan and includes medical doctors, lawmakers, treatment providers, preventionists, teachers, law enforcement officers and others who seek a middle road between incarceration and legalization.
Smart Colorado (Smart CO) SmartColorado.org
Smart Colorado formed after the 2012 passage of Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution, which legalized the sale and possession of recreational marijuana. The group believes Colorado’s top priority around marijuana policy and education should be protecting our youth. Research is clear that marijuana is harmful to the adolescent developing brain as well as tied to psychosis, schizophrenia, drug addiction and lower IQ.
Fact Sheets and Documents
Milford CARES invited town officials, community leaders, and other Milford residents to attend two information meetings at the library on June 27 and June 29, 2017. To watch video excerpts from the June 29th meeting, and to view video presentations recorded by the Westborough Opts Out coalition, visit the Videos page.
About Milford CARES
Milford CARES is a community task force initiated by Citizens for Milford and formed as a cross-functional team of concerned citizens, local officials, subject matter experts, educators, and health care providers. We continue to expand our outreach by seeking support from other leaders and members of the Milford community. Milford CARES is registered with the Town Clerk’s office as a Ballot Question Committee.
Questions? Send an email to: MilfordMACARES@gmail.com
Would you like to volunteer or place a lawn sign in your yard?
Email us: MilfordMACARES@gmail.com
Every sign we put out helps spread our message encouraging Milford to VOTE YES on Sept. 19. We respectfully ask for a $5 donation for each sign to cover production costs. THANK YOU!!
Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/MilfordCARES
The mission of Milford CARES is to maintain the health, safety, and integrity of our family community by informing Milford residents about the consequences imposed by retail sales of recreational marijuana and by advocating for a YES vote on September 19, 2017 to opt out of retail sales of all nonmedical marijuana in our town.
In addition, Milford CARES respects the rights of citizens to consume medical marijuana for compassionate care, as well as the rights of all Massachusetts citizens to consume recreational marijuana as legally allowed by Massachusetts state law.
To read the ever-growing list of community leaders and Milford residents who support Milford CARES, as well as their impact statements, please click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
We already voted to legalize marijuana. Why are we voting again?
Last November’s Question 4 vote, which legalized marijuana for recreational use,1 also authorized communities to hold a second vote to opt out of recreational marijuana establishments. Milford’s Board of Selectmen decided unanimously to hold this second vote. 2 If you voted YES on Question 4 in November, you also voted YES to give every community across the state the right to opt out of hosting recreational marijuana establishments in their own city or town.
The FAQs can be printed on one page, front and back.