Need a local example of why voting matters? This past Saturday, 2% of Freetown’s population got their way and banned marijuana retail sales in town.
In a special election on Saturday, the town of Freetown voted to prohibit the sales of retail marijuana by 24 votes. If 13 voters voted the other way, Freetown would have allowed marijuana retail sales.
Unofficially, 414 of the 5,855 registered voters decided the outcome with 219 voting to prohibit retail sales and 195 voting to allow dispensary licenses to be issued at 20% of the amount of liquor store licenses.
This photo was posted by the Freetown Police Department on their Facebook page at 6:44pm with the caption: “Staff at the Special Town’s Election reports that are no lines! It’s a good time to cast your vote!”
While ‘free’ is in the name, Freetown allowed 7% of registered voters to prohibit something that will be legal statewide this spring. According to the 2010 census, there are 8,870 people residing in Freetown, which means 4% of Freetown’s population the election. With 219 voting winning the day, that means 2% of the population pushed prohibition on the town.
Apathy ruled the day this weekend and Freetown will miss out on a booming industry (although they will have one of the largest grow facilities in New England). The irony is that Freetown supported legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts in 2016 and voted to build a 130,000 square foot grow facility, but voters said: “let’s grow it and smoke it, but just don’t sell it in my town.”
Mark this Freetown special election down as a lesson in the importance of voting. I’m certain the people who didn’t spend 5 minutes to vote will spend hours on social media complaining about the results. I’m looking forward to sharing this article with them.