Caroline’s Cannabis, the town’s first operating retail marijuana business, is on target to contribute about $400,000 for the year in revenue to the town. “That is certainly a healthy addition to the town’s bottom line,” said interim Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner.
UXBRIDGE – Perhaps you can have too much of a good thing.
While the town welcomes the revenue and business growth it’s begun to see from marijuana businesses, voters at Tuesday’s fall annual Town Meeting failed to amend zoning bylaws to allow more than the currently limited number of pot shops, cultivators, manufacturers and other marijuana establishments.
Article 11, which would have doubled the number of retail pot shops allowed in town to six from the current limit of three, failed to gain a two-thirds majority with a vote of 67 in favor and 57 opposed.
Article 12, which would have removed the limit, now at 12, on the number of cultivators, product manufacturers, labs and other non-retail pot shops or medical treatment centers, also failed to get a two-thirds majority, with a vote of 83 in favor and 47 opposed.
“The market seems to be here for at least four,” interim Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner said of the potential for more revenue from retail pot shops.
Uxbridge has signed four such host community agreements, although only three would ultimately be allowed to operate.
Caroline’s Cannabis, the town’s first operating retail marijuana business, is on target to contribute about $400,000 for the year in revenue to the town.
“That is certainly a healthy addition to the town’s bottom line,” Hechenbleikner said.
But others spoke against too much competition diluting the market and the town’s prospects for revenue, as well as marijuana damaging the character of the town.
The Finance Committee recommended unfavorable action on Article 11, to raise the retail shop cap, while the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board supported the move.
Doubling marijuana retail stores and lifting all limits on producers would risk Uxbridge being labeled as ‘’a town devoted to all things pot, where cannabis is king,” said resident Jane Keegan.
She warned against banking on one industry without a more diversified plan, saying town boards courted cannabis as “a pot of gold, no pun intended, to grab without delay.”
Alfred Gibson, manager of Gibby’s Garden, a licensed microbusiness marijuana cultivator and product manufacturer in Uxbridge, opposed raising the limit on retail stores, saying it would increase competition and harm businesses already open, such as Caroline’s Cannabis, or those in the licensing process.
But he supported removing the limit on cultivators and other non-retail marijuana businesses. The market for growers and processors is statewide, Gibson said, in contrast to the more local retail market.
Uxbridge has already signed 12 host community agreements with cultivators, manufacturers and other non-retail marijuana businesses.
Selectman Susan Franz argued that the limits on allowed businesses could slow down marijuana revenue because of the lengthy state licensing process.
“This is a high risk industry. Not everyone who applies will get a license,” Franz said. “It could be a year or two before we could replace a license.”