YES

Vinny deMacedo

State senator, Plymouth Republican

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Vinny deMacedo.

Although the Board of Selectmen just voted not to place the matter on the ballot this spring, I still believe it makes sense for Plymouth to ban the sale of recreational marijuana within our town.

In Colorado, voters were able to vote for legalization of recreational marijuana and retail sale of recreational marijuana separately. Conversely, the state ballot question approved by voters here packaged those questions together and required communities to opt out of retail, if they wish. Opting out now would protect the rights of personal recreational users and enable the town to see how the retail industry develops in other communities. If there are no adverse effects, Plymouth can then decide to participate.

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As an already popular tourist locale, Plymouth can expect an increase in visitors looking to take advantage of freely available marijuana. Unfortunately, studies in Colorado have shown these tourists to be relatively low spending. They have also had an adverse effect on visitors who are put off by the proliferation of retail marijuana establishments. These tourists also are hospitalized for cannabis-related reasons at a greater rate than residents. Studies have shown that, in Colorado, marijuana contains anywhere from 18 to 30 percent of the psychoactive agent THC, double to triple the concentration in past decades. Often, people who are not habitual users are caught off guard by this potency, leading to medical complications. Hospitalizations in Colorado for marijuana-related issues rose about 79 percent after legalization.

Because Plymouth could only impose a 2 percent local option tax on retail marijuana sales, similar results here would place a huge burden on our hospitals, police, and fire departments. If there were theoretically $1 million in marijuana sales in town, Plymouth would only receive $20,000 in tax revenue, well below what would be needed to address the added burden those sales would bring.

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Once we move down the path of legal marijuana sales, there is no going back. We should be certain that these issues will not negatively impact our community. That is why I believe opting out is still the best option for America’s Hometown.

NO

Randy Parker

Plymouth Town Meeting member

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Randy Parker.

One hopes it is obvious prohibition does not work. But here in Plymouth, some want to outlaw recreational cannabis shops from locating within our borders – another attempt to limit one’s freedom to exercise a legitimate choice. Thankfully, the Board of Selectmen has agreed not to move forward with a binding referendum this spring to enact the ban.

Why ban cannabis sales? We have sufficient controls available to us to regulate the number and location of retail facilities in Plymouth. Maybe we could start by allowing a couple in the Light Industrial zoning district. It would hardly be like burger joints on every corner. We would have just a few heavily regulated, scrutinized facilities to service those inclined toward passive recreation. Once we get our minds right, then we can look at stores in villages that want them. We should all have convenient, commercial access to quality-controlled products, just like alcohol.

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Plymouth is America’s Hometown. Tourism is Plymouth’s number one industry. Visitors from other states may not return when they can’t buy here what they can elsewhere, when they can’t have as much fun taking it easy. Be reasonable. Providing retail can only diminish the black market’s influence and make us all safer.

Then there’s the money. The town can levy a 2 percent local option sales tax. And we should encourage the state to allow a local sin tax for cannabis akin to state excise taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. Use the pot revenues to pave potholes, educate children, and reform addicts.

Like it or not, the time has come to accept cannabis on par with a fine glass of wine, a splash of bourbon, or a locally brewed beer; to each his or her own. Marijuana also can help ease people’s addition to opiates. To many, it is useful and relaxing, though like anything should be enjoyed with discipline and moderation.

Freedom to choose is precious. It will take years to merge cannabis into our lawful lives. It’s going to be fun. But we have to stay close with those we elect and pay attention to ensure they honor the intent of any referendum and do what is best for us.

Last week’s Argument: Should legal residents who are not citizens be allowed to vote in local elections?

Yes: 14 percent (4 votes)

No: 86 percent (24 votes)

Should Plymouth ban the sale of recreational marijuana in the town?As told to Globe correspondent John Laidler. He can be reached at laidler@globe.com.