CITY COUNCILOR JOEL McAULIFFE FILES ORDINANCE TO PROTECT LEGAL MARIJUANA USERS AND BUSINESSES
CHICOPEE — City Councilor Joel McAuliffe today filed an ordinance to protect Chicopee residents and businesses involved in the use or commerce of legal and medical marijuana.
In early January, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated he will now leave it up to federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state rules collide with federal drug law. Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling followed saying, “I cannot, however, provide assurances that certain categories of participants in the state-level marijuana trade will be immune from federal prosecution.”
McAuliffe’s proposal would prevent any city resources from being used to assist any agent of the federal government in connection with the investigation or prosecution of any individual participating in legal or medical marijuana use or commerce.
“All this does is renforce state law and is designed to protect the residents and businesses in the City of Chicopee so they are not unfairly targeted by federal officials for simply following the state law,” said McAuliffe. “The Marijuana legalization issue was decided by the voters and it is our responsibility to do what we can on the local level to protect and enforce their will.”
The marijuana legalization referendum passed in Chicopee 53.8% to 46.2%.
The ordinance would not prevent from police from enforcing laws against any illegal activities such as black market sales or underage use. The Massachusetts State Police, as well as police departments in Boston, Worcester, and other cities, have said they will not assist the federal government with raids on licensed cannabis dispensaries and cultivation facilities.
“I think it’s important that we focus on more important issues facing our city and Commonwealth like the opioid epidemic,” said Councilor McAuliffe. “Taking this issue off the table for Chicopee Police will make it much easier for them to do their jobs.”
Additionally McAuliffe says he the ordinance would encourage marijuana businesses such as dispensaries and cultivation facilities to locate in Chicopee and could result in an increase in business tax revenue. “We are a pro-business community and anytime we can do something that can attract businesses that carry a large tax bill, we are obligated to so that we can reduce the burden on our residents.”
The City Council will take up the ordinance at their next scheduled meeting on February 6th.