Bans on single-use plastics, recreational pot move closer to a vote
WESTPORT — Ordinances to ban single-use plastics and the sale of recreational marijuana currently under consideration by the Representative Town Meeting are moving closer to a vote.
The ban on single-use plastics, which would prohibit plastic food containers, straws, stirrers and cups in local restaurants, is being spearheaded by RTM member Andrew Colabella along with his eight co-sponsors.
Colabella first presented the proposed ordinance at the March 5 meeting, and the ban is expected to come before the RTM for a vote on April 24 meeting, he said.
Since the ban’s introduction, the RTM Ordinance Committee added language to allow some restaurants who can’t wash dishes on-site to hand out single-use plastic plates and utensils.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends some food establishments provide single-use plastic kitchenware if they can’t clean reusable dishes, Colabella said.
“It would be a facility that doesn’t meet minimum dish-washing requirements or doesn’t have the facilities to wash plates and silverware. It would be a smaller facility,” Westport Weston Health District Director Mark Cooper.
Some food shops need to provide single-use dishes instead of reusable ones because they don’t have septic tanks with the capacity for water needed to wash dishes or are located near a waterway where dishwashing waste would be a concern, Colabella said.
Those establishments who need to provide single-use plastic kitchenware may apply to the Director of Health for exemption after exhausting all viable alternatives, the proposed ordinance now reads.
“I think the ordinance is hitting everything on the head,” Colabella said, noting the text is a near-copy of the single-use plastic ban passed in Seattle in July.
The ordinance unanimously passed the RTM’s environment and ordinance committees and also has support from several local organizations, including Sustainable Westport.
The pot ban, meanwhile, is not as far along.
First introduced by co-sponsors Greg Kraut and Jimmy Izzo, the recreational pot shop ban will likely come before the RTM for a vote in May or June.
“The goal of the ordinance is simply no retail sales of recreational marijuana in Westport and that’s what we’re trying to get with the legal language,” Izzo said. “We’re just saying you can’t buy marijuana for recreational use in Westport.”
The proposed ordinance comes on the heels of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval last June of a medical marijuana shop in town, which is set to open on the Post Road this summer.
“All businesses engaged in the retail sale, use or distribution of marijuana and/or marijuana products for nonmedical use are prohibited within the Town of Westport,” the proposed ordinance reads.
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