Published in the April 25, 2017 edition.

WAKEFIELD – If you were looking forward to voting in today’s Town Election for or against allowing retail or other commercial marijuana operations in Wakefield, you will be disappointed.

“Unfortunately, due to a printing error the ballot does not include the marijuana question,” Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio told the Board of Selectmen last night. “This was an unfortunate error that occurred and it doesn’t affect the rest of the election.”

Maio said that he had spoken to Town Counsel Thomas Mullen and he and Mullen agreed that the best course of action would be for the town to continue with plans to seek a moratorium on retail and other commercial recreational marijuana operations in Wakefield until at least July 1, 2018. The May 1 Annual Town Meeting warrant includes an article seeking such a moratorium.

Voters of Massachusetts approved a citizen petition in the Nov. 8, 2018 Election legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. Under the ballot question, retail sales were to be allowed stating July 1, 2017, but the state legislature has delayed allowing retail sales for another full year, until July 1, 2018.

While the proposed local moratorium coincides with the date that the state will allow retail sales, the local moratorium extends beyond just retail sales to prohibit all commercial businesses related to recreational pot, including grow operations.

While he regretted that the question would not be on the ballot this year, Maio noted that due to the legislature’s action, Wakefield still has more than a year and could still put the question seeking to ban local retail/commercial marijuana operations on the April 2018 Town Election ballot.