Amesbury, Massachusetts Mayor Ken Gray has vetoed a public-use of cannabis ban — one he recommended to the city council — citing concerns that the ordinance did not consider medical marijuana use, according to a report from the Eagle-Tribune. The ordinance would have levied a $200 fine on anyone found using cannabis in public.
The veto comes following a public outcry during a City Council meeting where citizens expressed concerns that the ordinance could negatively affect patients using medical cannabis. The measure was recommended to Gray by police Chief Kevin Ouellet, who “didn’t have any objections” to the mayor’s veto because another version is still likely to pass after some changes. In a letter to City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin, Gray indicated that he wasn’t vetoing the ordinance because he is opposed to its intent, but rather “to ensure without doubt that we do not inadvertently implement an enforcement mechanism that unfairly impacts patients who use these substances as necessary forms of medicine.”
“The only way that I have of slowing this thing down is to veto it, otherwise it goes into effect,” Gray said in the report. “We are not really in a huge hurry to get this done. I don’t see any reason why we have to rush to get it done. It has already taken several months, so let’s take a pause to relook at it and make sure that we are doing this properly.”
The City Council has 21 days to override the veto or consider the ordinance rejected.