Bourne Selectmen Balk At Plans For Cannabis Rally In Buzzards Bay

An application to hold a “Cannabis Awareness Rally” in Bourne has been denied.

The application for the event in Buzzards Bay Park, as submitted by Stephen P. Cardillo of Plymouth, was given acceptance by most of the town department heads, including Bourne Fire Chief Martin Greene and Bourne Police Chief Dennis R. Woodside. However, Chief Greene’s agreement came with the caveat that the organizers be sure to maintain access to the park for emergency vehicles.

Chief Woodside’s acceptance came with a lengthy list of suggestions for reining in any potential hazard to public safety. The chief suggested a reduced time frame of 9 AM to 6 PM, an increased police presence, and strict adherence to laws prohibiting the sale, possession or use of marijuana in public.

The event was to have been scheduled for August 16, with roughly 200 people descending on the park from 8 AM to 9 PM. It would have included band music, home made crafts, live glass blowing demonstrations, food vendors, a small farmer’s market and an information booth. Mr. Cardillo did not attend Tuesday night’s meeting.

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In his notes on Mr. Cardillo’s application, the chief made it clear that he was not in favor of Bourne agreeing to the event being held, and his acceptance was only due to the political climate in Massachusetts that has legitimized marijuana.

“I concur with the event because I feel the Town must, not because I approve.”

The rally nearly received its needed approval from the Bourne Board of Selectmen Tuesday night, June 24. Board member Donald J. Pickard moved to accept the application with the adoption of Chief Woodside’s suggested reduction in the hours for the event. Mr. Pickard withdrew his motion after comments made by member Donald E. (Jerry) Ellis.

Mr. Ellis cited a number of problems with the plans submitted for the event, specifically a lack of portable toilets, and no entry and exit points for checking attendees’ identification.

“How are 18 and under children going to be controlled? Children 13, 14, 15, 16 are going to try to get in because it’s like a magnet;” he said.

He suggested that the 200 people estimate would likely escalate to 800 to 1,000

Mr. Ellis said that in spite of the concurrence by the various town department heads, “I feel very strongly that we should not endorse this.”

Based on Mr. Ellis’s comments, Mr. Pickard withdrew his motion.

Board chairman Peter J. Meier asked Town of Bourne counsel Robert S. Troy if the board’s denial of the application could be appealed on any grounds. Mr. Troy said that everything is appealable, but there was a lot of information that Mr. Cardillo did not provide on his application, such as the limit on the number of attendees, whether they are providing insurance and paying for police details. The board could reject his application for a lack of details, he said.

“I think you need some more information,” he said.

Mr. Troy added that it is incumbent upon the applicant to provide all the needed information requested by the town. He said that too often, the town winds up ferreting out the missing information “which frankly is a waste of taxpayer’s money.”

“In my view, the application should be returned to the applicant and told to fill out the form, give the information, tell us what the event is and then you can make up your decision,” he said.

Bourne selectmen agreed unanimously to deny the application.

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