Editorial: Marijuana vote belongs with Barrington voters

Posted 6/10/22

Credit three Barrington town councilors for taking a healthy approach to the question of allowing cannabis sales in town. Councilors Robb Humm, Carl Kustell and Annelise Conway elected to send the …

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Editorial: Marijuana vote belongs with Barrington voters

Posted

Credit three Barrington town councilors for taking a healthy approach to the question of allowing cannabis sales in town. Councilors Robb Humm, Carl Kustell and Annelise Conway elected to send the issue to voters, to have the town’s residents decide whether to permit cannabis licenses in Barrington.

For different reasons, Councilors Michael Carroll and Jacob Brier went the other way and voted against putting the issue on the November ballot — meaning licenses would be permitted under state law by default. Carroll reasoned that cannabis sales are now legal in Rhode Island, plus the town could use the tax revenue. Brier didn’t trust voters to sufficiently understand the issue, as he worried about misinformation between now and November.

In the end, by their 3-2 vote, the majority of councilors decided to put what most would consider a highly controversial decision in the hands of all the town’s residents, which is where a decision like this should be.

Every community is unique, with its own diverse set of circumstances. Urban communities with 75,000 residents and sprawling commercial sectors are not the same as small bedroom communities with 16,000 residents. While Barrington is home to an adult population that might welcome easy access to these now-legal products, it is also home to a dense teenage population that might also crave these products and find creative ways to get their hands on them. Barrington families, parents and neighbors should be allowed to decide if they want this type of business so close to home. They now have five months to consider all the factors.

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Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Media Group team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaymediagroup.com.