Letter: Bright Future for Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation in Williamstown
To the Editor:
As a small vegetable farmer in Williamstown, I am a strong supporter of the citizens petition on outdoor marijuana cultivation that will be voted on at the Williamstown town meeting on Aug. 18.
As a young person and a farmer, I am perplexed and frustrated by the fear that is driving opposition to this bylaw. I am looking to the future, where farmers have diversified revenue streams and are able to make a living wage.
Everyone in Williamstown benefits from the pastoral scenery that farmers are critically important in maintaining. It is the working farms that keep our open lands open. It is the working farms that help keep property values high in Williamstown.
This citizens petition, warrant article 34, is a thoughtful, well drafted bylaw that continues to allow outdoor cultivation—it has been legal in Williamstown since 2017—but offers more guidance and best practices for anyone seeking to take the leap, and our farmers here in town are the ones best poised to do so.
I care as deeply about the landscape here in Williamstown as any conservationist. When a farm fails, the land becomes another million-dollar house lot. We are at an inflection point as many of our longtime farmers age out of the business. Now, more than ever, diverse revenue streams are important to the continued viability of farms and new farmers, and also the rural character of this town. Commercial outdoor cultivation of marijuana can be a critical revenue stream for farmers in the future, so let's give them that opportunity!
Tags: marijuana, town meeting 2020,