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Marijuana plant

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MANCHESTER — The 2022 Manchester Town Meeting warning will ask residents to vote on whether they want to allow retail cannabis establishments in town.

A petition proposing two questions related to cannabis activities gathered enough signatures to qualify for the March 1 Australian ballot.

The first question asks whether Manchester should allow retail sales to people 21 and over. The second asks whether the town will permit an “integrated license” — a cannabis business that includes all phases of production, from cultivation to retail sales.

The state law establishing regulated and taxed sale of cannabis in Vermont to people 21 and older leaves it to towns to decide by vote if they will allow retail sales. Other cannabis-related businesses do not require a vote, but are subject to land-use rules.

Manchester also has an ordinance on the books preventing the sale of marijuana. Town Manager John O’Keefe has said questions about whether that needs to be repealed should wait until the March 1 vote.

As for the rest of the warning, the Select Board has already approved petitions asking taxpayers to appropriate $87,000 to the Northshire Day School, and approving the purchase of the Manchester Rail Trail from its owners and developers for $120,000.

Also expected on the warning this year are an advisory question on support for the proposed field house at Dana M. Thompson Memorial Park, and a proposed sewer line extension up Route 7A from Cemetery Avenue to Hunter Park Road.

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The board has yet to formally approve the warning. That’s expected at its Tuesday meeting, as well as approval of the proposed fiscal 2023 budget.

On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott signed bills allowing for town meeting to be conducted remotely and/or by Australian ballot, and releasing town candidates from the responsibility of securing signatures to appear on the ballot.

The Select Board has two terms expiring this year: those held by Vice Chairman Greg Cutler and Laurie Kunz.

Cutler, now second in seniority on the board, said Wednesday he is seeking another term. “Yes, I submitted the form, and I am running,” he said.

Kunz, asked if she intends to seek election, said “Yes, that is my intention.” She filed her ballot papers on Thursday, Town Clerk Anita Sheldon said.

Kunz was appointed to the board last year to fill the term of Wayne Bell, who retired.

This story was updated with Laurie Kunz filing campaign papers, and to correct that cannabis may only be sold to persons over the age of 21.

Reach Greg Sukiennik at gsukiennik@manchesterjournal.com or at 802-447-7567, ext. 119.


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