Two South County towns vote on issue of adult-use marijuana

(Hannah Shirley) Monterey residents decide to ban marijuana stores by one vote, while Egremont agrees to entertain applications.

SHEFFIELD — For many towns in South County, legalizing cannabis was the easy part.

After years of work by the town planning boards, Monterey voted to ban all marijuana enterprises while a proposed ban in Egremont failed, allowing any marijuana business to apply through the town’s special permit process.

Both towns, like many municipalities in the Berkshires, both voted in favor of the 2016 statewide ballot initiative to legalize marijuana and marijuana products — but town officials have said voters may not have fully understood what they were voting on. At Monterey’s annual town meeting Saturday, select board member Don Coburn echoed something Egremont Planning Board member Helen Krancer has said in the past: this isn’t exactly what the town signed up for.

“We voted as a town to decriminalize marijuana years ago,” Coburn said. “That was not a vote saying that we wanted to have a retail marijuana store in our town, it was not a vote that we wanted to have in our town a manufacturing establishment or more than one, it was simply a vote to decriminalize.”

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