TYNGSBORO -- A citizens petition to prohibit marijuana establishments from coming to Tyngsboro is one of several major articles that will be voted on at Town Meeting on Tuesday. Town Meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Tyngsboro Elementary School, 205 Westford Road.

The petition led by lifelong resident Ann Tinnirella -- Article 28 -- has received over 120 signatures, according to documents obtained by The Sun.

"The bottom line is, we don't want it in the town. It doesn't matter if people want to smoke it. I don't judge anybody," Tinnirella said last week. "We're not taking their right away to smoke it, we're not taking their right away to grow it in the backyard. We're not taking those rights away. We want to take the right away for anybody to come in here and put a pot shop -- a retail facility -- anywhere they want up and down Middlesex Ave."

Tinnirella described marijuana as a gateway drug and said she thinks it sends the wrong message to allow retail marijuana businesses to come into Tyngsboro.

"We're a small town. We want to stay a small town," she added. "There's plenty of other places for this to go. It doesn't need to be here in Tyngsboro."

Selectman Ron Keohane is in favor of the retail marijuana establishments.

"Because the voters in Massachusetts and in Tyngsboro have already voted to make this legal, it's already legal. This issue is really about having marijuana stores. That's really all it is," Keohane said.


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"The administration has just documented that we will receive over $750,000 annually, minimum, to our budget."

Keohane has said that he would like to see those funds used to fix up the town's roads, which he said is currently Tyngsboro's biggest issue.

The selectman stressed that opioids are the health crisis of this generation -- not marijuana. "This is an unprecedented opportunity for Tyngsboro to be on the ground floor of a 1.1 billion dollar industry by 2020," Keohane added.

Gary Browning, who helped Tinnirella with the petition, said "this is about getting the town citizens a chance to re-vote a vote of conscience on this subject."

"We think that the citizens petition that we've authored is a comprehensive way of getting the town to re-vote this vote," Browning said. "If indeed they find in favor of marijuana and the vote is that way, we'll support that but I think it's time to refresh the town's opinion."

If the petition passes at Town Meeting, it would also have to go on a town-wide ballot vote to be accepted by the voters, according to Town Administrator Matt Hanson.

Hanson said there are other marijuana-related articles, including the citizen petition, that need to be looked at collectively. Below is a brief summary of each:

n Article 26, which looks to establish location requirements for licensed marijuana establishments. No marijuana establishments would be allowed within 500 feet of any pre-existing public or private school, licensed daycare center, church, library, playground, or indoor and outdoor active recreation area for children.

"Massachusetts has already made recreational marijuana legal," Hanson said. "We're currently in a moratorium, so this bylaw itself doesn't allow recreational marijuana in town -- this just helps further define where it can go. It further restricts the locations it can go." If the zoning is accepted, the moratorium scheduled to end on Dec. 31 would go away.

n Article 27 looks to impose a 3 percent excise tax on the total gross sales for recreational marijuana. Hanson said that could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual tax revenue for the town, and the funds could be used at Town Meeting's discretion.

Other notable articles:

n Article 8 looks to appropriate a sum of money for capital improvements that include the surface replacement of the town/school turf field and asbestos removal from the former Winslow School.

n Article 11, which looks to bring sewer on Middlesex Road up to the Nashua, New Hampshire, border. The project was turned down by Town Meeting last year due to costs considered high for local business owners. Hanson said the Sewer Commission has redesigned the project and the cost per unit in turn has been brought down to make it less expensive.

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.