Question 4 on the State ballot of November 8, 2016 legalized recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The passing of the question also created the The Cannabis Control Commission, who will regulate recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. Previously, marijuana was only permitted for medicinal purposes.
The voters of the Town of Shrewsbury cast more no votes than yes votes on Question 4 in 2016. Therefore, the Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting have the ability to implement local control bylaws or completely ban recreational marijuana facilities as laid out in Section 3 of M.G.L. Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016, prior to July 1, 2018, when recreational marijuana shops are permitted to begin retail sales.
The Cannabis Control Commission has released draft regulations and municipal guidance for municipalities to use as guidelines when deciding whether to ban or regulate recreational marijuana establishments.
The Board of Selectmen held a public hearing on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 to hear from interested citizens on the matters before the Board pertaining to recreational marijuana establishments and held a Special Town Meeting on the issue on April 23, 2018.
On April 23, 2018 the Town Meeting voted to allow recreational sales in Shrewsbury with certain zoning restrictions and requires applicants to undergo a special permit process with the Planning Board. Town Meeting Members also voted to implement a 3% local sales tax as well as ban consumption on town property. Only two licenses will be issued for Recreational Marijuana Establishments.