By an overwhelming majority, voters at the annual town meeting on Tuesday approved zoning bylaw changes that create a regulatory framework for recreational marijuana businesses in town.
But it was clear that the option of banning retail pot is still very much on the table.
This year's annual town meeting is all about weed and weeds.
The two articles that may generate the most discussion at the Tuesday evening meeting come near the end of the agenda: Articles 36 and 39 on a 40-article warrant.
The Select Board on Wednesday night opened five bids for paving and work on the mile-long road that runs from Middle Road to the Vermont State Line.
Town meeting in 2015 had overwhelmingly approved borrowing up to $235,000 for the project as well as an immediate borrowing of $65,000 to address culvert issues.
A divided and conflicted Board of Selectmen on Monday voted its recommendations on a 40-article warrant to be presented to next month's annual town meeting.
The four selectmen in attendance made short work of most of the financial warrant articles, though a couple of the Community Preservation Act allocations generated some discussion.
The board's annual public hearing to consider articles for town meeting drew a nearly full house to the Board of Selectmen's Meeting Room. Several residents addressed the board about its proposed bylaws, and, in two cases, board members were persuaded to change direction.
Town Planner Andrew Groff brought the board a proposed bylaw for discussion that limited retail pot establishments to one of the town's commercial zones, the Planned Business zone at the north end of Simonds Road and on Main Street (Route 2) west of Stratton Road.
Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level so income raised from those sales cannot legally be placed in federally regulated banks.
So, what are towns supposed to do with the money raised from a local option tax now that marijuana sales will be legal on the state level?
The state Legislature has pushed back the timeline for the opening of recreational marijuana shops.
On Wednesday in informal session, the Legislature fast-tracked a bill to delay the implementation of recreational marijuana for six months. The move pushes the timeline back for marijuana shops to open from the anticipated Jan. 1, 2018 to July, 2018 - and likely even longer for the Berkshires.
The recreational use and "home grown" aspect went into effect last Wednesday, but there is no regulatory framework in place for the commercial production or sale of non-medical marijuana in Massachusetts, and the commonwealth has until January 2018 to implement such a framework.
Recreational marijuana use is now legal in Massachusetts.
But don't expect much to notice much of a difference, other than reading a few news stories or seeing some Facebook posts. While home use is legal now, retail stores won't be opened until at least 2018 and lawmakers have already toyed with the idea of delaying that timeline.
The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition is sponsoring a forum on marijuana and substance abuse on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m. at Massachusetts college of Liberal Arts' Church Street Center.
The event is free and open to the public; pizza will be served at 5:45 p.m.
Dr. Jennifer Michaels says every patient she sees struggling with serious addiction began by smoking marijuana at a young age.
Michaels, the medical director at the Brien Center, joined District Attorney David Capeless Tuesday in a forum at Berkshire Community College urging a no vote on the referendum to legalize marijuana, which will be on the ballot in November. Michaels outlined her belief that the legalization will lead to more issues with addictions while Capeless said public safety wou