MERRIMAC —  The town is expected to address the issue of retail marijuana sales once again when the Special Fall Town Meeting reconvenes Tuesday.

A citizen petition looking to allow the sale of recreational marijuana in the town’s Office-Light Industrial District was submitted Sept. 30 and on the warrant for the Oct. 21 Special Fall Town Meeting.

Since the Planning Board had yet to hold a public hearing on the matter, the warrant article was postponed until after its Nov. 5 meeting.

According to Planning Board Chair Sandra Venner, the board voted 4-0 not to recommend supporting the change to the town’s zoning bylaws, preferring instead to take a wait-and-see approach. Board member Arthur Amirault was not present to vote.

“The basic sentiment by the board is that they wish not to support it at this time,“ Venner said.

“They felt that there needed to be more time for there to be a history in the industry.”

Venner also said the board had concerns about the projected revenue for retail marijuana sales weighed against potential added costs to the town, if problems were to arise.

A similar citizen petition appeared before Town Meeting in April.

Although the majority of voters (228-213) approved the measure, since it represents a change in the town zoning bylaws it requires a two-thirds majority vote and did not pass.

Venner added that the Planning Board also had some questions as to whether the current warrant article is sufficiently different from the April request.

“That was already brought to Town Meeting and voted down,” Venner said. “Normally, they would have to wait two years to reappear before Town Meeting.“

According to Venner, the warrant article will also need a two-thirds majority vote to pass and, if it were to move forward, the next stop would be at the state Attorney General’s office for review.

The Special Fall Town Meeting reconvenes at the Dr. Frederick N. Sweetsir School, 104 Church St., at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan can be reached via email at or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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