Today, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) celebrates the results of several local level ballot initiatives in California and Massachusetts that prohibit pot shops in communities.
In Jarupa Valley, California, the pot industry got hit with a double whammy by losing two ballot measures. The first, Measure A, would have overturned a city-wide ban on commercial marijuana sales and grow operations. This measure failed by a vote of 57% to 42%. The second initiative, Measure B, was a vote to reaffirm the city-wide ban and it passed by the same margin.
In Yucca Valley, California Measure L sought to overturn an ordinance passed last year prohibiting commercial marijuana sales. In a win for public health and safety, the measure failed with over 68% of voters saying no to pot shops in their neighborhood.
Since the vote on Proposition 64, less than 30% of cities and towns allow pot shops. Even further, only 18 or 58 counties in the state allow pot shops to operate in unincorporated areas.
California communities are not the only communities in legalized states pushing back against the pot industry.
Massachusetts continues to ban pot on the local level. Last Monday, West Bridgewater, Massachusetts voted to ban recreational marijuana sales by a 2-1 margin. As it stands, 189 of the states 351 municipalities have banned recreational marijuana operations. Advocates for the bans at local level cite concerns over marijuana use exacerbating the state’s opioid crisis, increased crime, increased marijuana-impaired driving, and rising youth use rates.
So many municipalities in the state have voted against allowing recreational sales within their borders that some pro-pot lobbyists have predicted that only a handful of stores will be able to open this summer. These local level bans have led many pro-pot advocates to fear that legalization will fail to deliver the millions of dollars in tax revenue that was promised.
“Essentially, folks in California and Massachusetts are saying they do not want pot in their neighborhoods,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder and president of SAM. “These results show that people do not want THC candies, cookies, and gummies in their community. They’re sick of Big Tobacco and they do not want Big Marijuana.”