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Bylaw against marijuana ready to begin in Raynham

tauntongazette.com 8/9 Marc Larocque

The people and law have spoken, why is this still a priority? -UA

A new Raynham bylaw against the public consumption of marijuana is set to take effect.

The marijuana bylaw was approved by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, said Town Administrator Randall Buckner during a Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday. The vast majority of about 200 residents at Raynham’s Annual Town Meeting in May passed the bylaw, which allows police to impose a $300 fine for the public consumption of marijuana.

Buckner said now the town needs to publish the law and it will take effect retroactively to the Attorney General’s recent approval.

Raynham’s marijuana bylaw comes in addition to a $100 civil penalty Massachusetts instituted through a statewide vote to decriminalize marijuana in November 2008. Raynham Police Chief James Donovan previously called the public consumption of marijuana a “quality of life” issue that especially effects renters in apartment buildings.

In addition to the marijuana bylaw, a bylaw amendment making the Raynham town treasurer into an appointed position was approved by the Attorney General, Buckner said. Before a Town Meeting vote brought in the amendment, the town treasurer was an elected position until voters decided at the Town Meeting that it should be an appointed position.

The majority of Tuesday’s 30-minute meeting dealt with back payments owed to the Raynham Police Department for details at the Peddler’s Loft bar.

Selectman Joseph Pacheco told Peddler’s Loft owner Matt Cummings that the town of Raynham cannot be treated like “a credit card” for the business.

Cummings explained that the current economic situation has affected revenues at his business. He said that on some nights when entertainment is provided — especially in the summer when business is down — the police detail takes 70 percent of gross income made at Peddler’s Loft.

Cummings also said it was unfair he is required to provide police detail on any night when there is entertainment, when similar businesses in the town are not. Cummings added that in spite of his regular payment history — up until this summer, when he fell behind due emergency maintenance on a busted air conditioning system — he is “barraged” with calls from the Raynham Police Department with “threats to revoke” his license.

Cummings said he paid the police $9,200 in the past five years, while he is now 30 days late on a $1,388 bill, after two checks to the police are cashed, and he is planning on paying the balance soon.

The Board of Selectmen, Donovan and Cummings agreed that the next bill could be paid at the end of August after not having entertainment or police details there for the rest of the month.

The Board also said that the Raynham Athletic Club, which was pursuing one-day licenses to serve beer and wine for weekend pool events, has decided against it after given the license on a trial basis for a few days in July.

The board also commended Raynham Fire Chief James Januse for becoming the new State Task Force Mobilization Coordinator for District 3. The selectmen said the position entails coordinating services during emergencies that effect multiple communities in the area.

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