By Bob Katzen

The Senate 3-36, rejected an amendment that would require a city or town to hold a voter referendum on any proposal that would allow the sale of marijuana and marijuana products for consumption on the premises where they are sold. The amendment would replace language in the bill that gives two options to cities and towns: hold a referendum or have the option to give the authority to the City Council or Board of Selectmen.

Amendment supporters said that the voters, not city or town officials, should have the final say on whether to allow these businesses to operate in the community.

“If you believe in democracy and full participation and allowing every voter to weigh in, and most of us do, then you would be in support of this amendment,” said amendment sponsor Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

Amendment opponents said cities and towns should have both the referendum option and the local officials’ option, which will save the costs of holding a referendum.

The main opponent of the amendment, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on the amendment.

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