HANSON — Confusion over how the town should move forward in regulating the sale of marijuana within the town raised some debate as Selectmen voted on Tuesday, Aug. 28 to close the warrant for the Monday, Oct. 1 Special Town Meeting.
There will be 24 articles, ranging from housekeeping items, to a new ambulance for the fire department, which Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett called “self-explanatory”, to a cellphone tower at the middle school.
Most articles with a set monetary value were placed on the warrant and recommended, with few exceptions. Several controversial articles were placed, but not recommended, specifically Article 22, which would amend the general by-law to prohibit marijuana sales.
This was a point of contention for FitzGerald-Kemmett, Selectmen Chairman Kenny Mitchell, and member James Hickey.
While the board as a whole agreed that they did not want marijuana sales in Hanson, according to FitzGerald-Kemmett, and Mitchell and Hickey were vocally opposed, they seemed confused as to how to move forward with whether to recommend the article.
“I want to make it clear. I oppose marijuana sales,” said Hickey.
“Does recommending the article indicate support for the measure, or not?” FitzGerald-Kemmett asked, “I made a commitment to my constituents to let the people vote on this.”
Town Administrator Michael McCue jumped in, arguing that a recommendation was to place the measure on the warrant. The board as a whole, especially Wesley Blauss, did not seem convinced.
“That’s not how it works with other articles,” he said.
The board voted 3-1-1, with FitzGerald-Kemmett abstaining from the vote, which passed, to recommend the article on the STM warrant.
The board accepted two donations on Tuesday evening, one from the Hanson Rod and Gun Club and the other from Sullivans Automotive.
The Rod and Gun club donated fishing gear, including poles, bobbers and hooks, to the Recreation Commission in the amount of approximately $130, according to McCue.
Sullivan Automotive donated $10,236 of safety equipment for the police, namely body armor. Mitchell, speaking about the donation, said, “Sullivan’s has been extremely generous to us over the past years…the motorcycle we have now is from them.”
This donation replaced an STM warrant that the police were going to come to the town for this year, according to Mitchell.
Appointment Policy delayed
The board was almost prepared to vote on a Committee Appointment Policy, but upon objections from Blauss to some of the wording, and confusion over definitions by FitzGerald-Kemmett, the appointment policy was tabled until another meeting.
Blauss was hung up on a section that required appointees to come before the board for an interview. “What if they can’t make Tuesday nights?” he asked.
Mitchell said that language could be added to the document requiring an appointee to come before the selectmen or the town administrator, in the event they were otherwise unable to come to a Tuesday night meeting
“I know what the will of the board is,” said McCue, who said he’d “wordsmith” language into the document to please everyone.
Another concern was language in the policy stating that appointees must be “of good moral character.” Fitzgerald-Kemmett wanted a definition.
A discussion of CORI checking volunteers ensued. Language that would disqualify certain individuals based on their criminal histories is in the document. Fitzgerald-Kemmett wanted to know what would disqualify someone.
McCue and Selectmen’s Assistant Meredith Marini stated that they would make that determination, privately.
On a light-hearted note, Fitzgerald-Kemmett joked, “We’re not going back and ‘CORI-ing’! That would be disastrous!”
The board will next meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11.