Community Report: Thetford Passes Ordinance Banning Commercial Cannabis
Each week, VPR touches base with a local newspaper reporter about a top story from their community. This time, we hear from John Gregg, news editor from the Valley News.
Gregg reported that in a 3-to-1 vote late last month, the Thetford selectboard passed an ordinance banning the sale and cultivation of marijuana plants for commercial purposes.
The town did this, he said, "with an eye to the increasing expectation that the Legislature is going to allow some sort of commercial marijuana bill to pass."
According to Gregg, residents told the selectboard that allowing cultivation and sales through a dispensary or retail outlet could draw unwanted traffic to the town. One selectboard member also expressed concern about a "drug draw" at Thetford's Interstate 91 park and ride.
Hemp-growing, cultivation and sales would not be affected by this ordinance. Growing and using marijuana plants for personal use — either medicinally or recreationally — would also be shielded from the ban.
Gregg reported that violation of the ban would carry civil fines: A first offense would garner up to a $250 fine, with second, third and subsequent offenses ranging from $500 to $750.
While the ordinance is set to take effect 60 days from its passage on Dec. 27, Gregg noted if 5% of Thetford voters (roughly 120 people) signed a petition, they could call for a special Town Meeting vote on the issue.