Arlington adopts modified pot plan

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ARLINGTON — The Arlington Select Board has adopted a resolution outlining its hopes and concerns regarding state legislation that, if adopted, would establish a regulatory system for commercial cannabis.

The Vermont League of Cities and Towns, a group that represents municipal governments, has circulated a model resolution broadly supportive of municipal control over such a system. Towns, for instance, should have the right to "opt in" to hosting cannabis-related establishments, the one-page resolution states. As of mid-December, about 20 towns across the state had adopted the resolution, a VLCT representative said.

The Arlington Select Board discussed the resolution at its Dec. 17 meeting but chose not to vote on it, opting instead to take more time to modify it to reflect additional considerations.

At the board's next meeting on Dec. 30, all members voted in favor of a modified version of the resolution, which includes newly-added language about cannabis legalization's impact on highway safety and the environment, said board member and state Rep. Cynthia Browning, who spearheaded the changes.

The town's version calls on the state to require cannabis-related facilities to "minimize the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides;" filter and reuse water; and "use only renewable energy, whether through direct on site generation or through purchase of dedicated renewable energy generated off site."

The state should also "allocate additional funds for substance abuse prevention and highway safety" and "require complete vertical transparency in the ownership of all commercial cannabis establishments," the amended resolution states.

A League of Cities and Towns article that was shared with municipalities reported that a cannabis-regulation bill passed by the Vermont Senate last year is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee, and House leadership has indicated the bill will be taken up again during the current legislative session — the second year of the biennium — which began this week.

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