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LONDONDERRY — Residents here have voted to approve allowing cannabis retailers in town, but defeated a proposed 1 percent local option tax that would have allowed the town to benefit from its sale.

Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe said the impact of the vote, which took place in October, isn’t yet known.

“We’re not sure how this will impact the town at this time, as the vote only allows retail cannabis and integrated licensees to locate in Londonderry if they choose to do so,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe said the town is well situated to take advantage of the revenue and tourism that could be driven by having a retailer located in Londonderry.

“Given that Londonderry is central to several tourist destinations, has available storefronts in its village areas, and is at the crossroads of Vermont Routes 11 and 100, I believe it’s ideally situated for a new cannabis retailer,” O’Keefe said. “A business of this type could attract additional visitors and commercial activity to the community, which in turn could add to the already positive business atmosphere in Londonderry.”

There were 199 ballots cast out of a voter checklist of 1,558.

Article 1, “shall the town authorize cannabis retailers in town,” passed 116-82. One ballot was left blank.

A second article authorizing integrated licenses in town passed 108-87, with four blank ballots.

The local option tax question, which would have allowed the town to assess a 1 percent tax on sales, failed by a vote of 117-82.

Londonderry Town Clerk Kelly Pajala said the vote means a cannabis business could operate in town.

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“When the state begins issuing licenses for cannabis retail stores, Londonderry will be a town that allows retailers to operate,” Pajala said. But that doesn’t mean a business can open in Londonderry without getting a local permit, she said.

“Any state license holder will still be required to obtain a local zoning permit,” Pajala said. “Assuming a business has both a state license and local zoning permit, it seems safe to assume that a store operating in Londonderry would contribute to the state’s revenue from cannabis sales.”

But voters chose not to approve a plan to enact a local option tax, which Pajala said means the town won’t see any cannabis sales tax revenue unless state law changes.

“At this point, since Londonderry did not pass the local option sales tax, the town won’t see any revenue from cannabis sales unless there is a change in state statute or a future local vote passes the adoption of the local option sales tax,” Pajala said.

Pajala said there has been no movement on the issue in Londonderry.

“At the moment there are no local zoning permit applications for a retail establishment nor has the state issued any licenses. So it remains to be seen whether a cannabis retailer will operate in Londonderry,” Pajala said. “At the very least it is a possibility.”

The vote was rescheduled from September after the warning on the issue missed a download for the newspaper of record, the Vermont Journal.

The vote had been set for Sept. 17 and was properly warned, notice was placed on the town’s website and in public places. But the deadline for the newspaper’s legal advertising was missed and the town Select Board chose to delay the vote to make sure everything was properly done under Vermont election law.

An informational meeting was held Oct. 13.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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