Rolling Up Some Democracy

The Annual Town Meeting is often touted as an example of the purest form of democracy  seen today. The truth is Town Meeting serves as the legislative branch of Mansfield government and on May 15th 2018 there are a number of articles on the warrant that support that assertion.

Two of those articles are numbers 43 and 44. These two articles seek to have the voters of Mansfield take ownership of issues facing their town and state clearly whether they want recreational/retail marijuana establishments in town.

In November 2016 Mansfield voters narrowly passed Ballot Question 4 by 437 votes (6822-6385). Given the complexity of the issue and the potential ongoing actions by both the state and federal governments that small margin clearly begs for reconsideration and affirmation by the voters.

It is important to keep in mind that local control has always been a fundamental component of the law governing recreational marijuana. (MGL Ch 94G §3) It also cannot be stressed enough that these two articles do not apply to medical marijuana. The two articles also do not infringe on individuals rights regard legal possession,growing,use and sharing of marijuana. (MGL 94G § 7)

On May 15th our individual feelings and beliefs about marijuana are not really what is up for a vote. The real question on the floor will be whether Town Meeting attendees believe it is important to allow all the Town’s voters a ballot election on a very important issue.

***Sadly a great majority of the 387 voters at Annual Town Meeting saw it fit to deny their fellow citizens an opportunity to participate in asserting their democratic rights on an important issue. 

All along this was stressed as being about democracy more than marijuana. I was sincere in that assertion and as such am obviously saddened that it was so blithely set aside by a body utterly focused on a populist myth.

FWIW retail marijuana in Mansfield will most likely be a neutral. By that I mean the positives and negatives will equalize each other out. We’ll see,thanks.