BY ANGELO LYNN
PROCTOR — At its Jan. 10 selectboard meeting, the Proctor board adopted two questions for the ballot regarding cannabis sales, and discussed the pros and cons of holding a hybrid town meeting with the informational session on Monday, Feb. 28 being held digitally and the Town Meeting votes being cast by Australian ballot the following Tuesday, March 1.
While a motion to hold the informational meeting digitally and vote by ballot was made by Ben Curtis and seconded by Tom Hogan, the ensuing discussion went on for several minutes — largely in favor of the motion — without a formal vote being taken. Town Manager Michael Ramsey said after the meeting that a formal vote will be taken up at the Jan. 24 meeting.
Ballots will not be mailed out to all voters. However, any voter can request an absentee ballot from the Town Clerk’s office and mail it in.
The selectboard also unanimously approved two questions to put on the ballot concerning a vote to legalize the retail sale of cannabis. Selectman Tom Hogan moved to place the cannabis questions on the Australian ballot, which was seconded by Bruce Baccei.
The questions on the ballot will be:
• “Shall the town of Proctor authorize cannabis retailers in town pursuant to 7 V.S.A. § 863?”
• “Shall the town of Proctor authorize retail portions of integrated licensee operations in town pursuant to 7 V.S.A. § 863?”
Both measures are need to legalize the sale of cannabis within the town. The state has already passed a measure that legalized the sale of cannabis within the state, but added a measure that each town needed to specifically opt out if it did not want to allow its sale within its town borders.
In the past several meetings, the selectboard has discussed the measure, agreeing that it made little sense to opt out — because sales would be all around the town — but that it should be left up to the voters to make that decision.
The selectboard also agreed to adopt a Declaration of Inclusion, which is a statement that each town condemns discrimination in all of its forms and welcomes diversity.
The key phases of the declaration were drafted in a proclamation signed by Gov. Phil Scott on May 7, 2021. Those phrases state:
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, Philip B. Scott, Governor, hereby proclaim” that “the State of Vermont formally condemns discrimination in all of its forms and welcomes all people who want to live and work and add richness to our State, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, age, or disability and will protect these classes to the fullest extent of the law.
“I call upon all Vermonters to denounce prejudice, to openly acknowledge and address our own implicit bias and welcome and celebrate all people, of all races, colors, religions, national origins, sex, gender identity or expression, ages, disabilities, and continue to work together to ensure every individual can live freely, equitably, and express their opinions free from fear, intolerance and prejudice.”
The measure passed the selectboard unanimously.
The town’s next meeting will be held Monday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m.