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Bayfield voters say no to pot sales

Unofficial results show 52 percent rejected measure
Signs urging no votes on Bayfield 2B and 2C went up at several businesses and properties downtown.

Bayfield residents will not be able to legally purchase marijuana in town limits, according to the unofficial results from Tuesday night's election.

Town residents voted on 2B, allowing for medical and recreational sales in town limits, and 2C, for a fee of up to $10 on each sale in town. Until this election, the town board had voted to ban sales in town limits.

"Oh wonderful, you don't know how happy that makes me," said Anne Schrier, who worked with a coalition of town and county residents urging a no vote.

Of 1,173 votes cast, a huge turnout for a municipal issue in Bayfield, 615 voters, or 52 percent, said no to the question of allowing retail and medical marijuana sales in town limits.

There were 558 yes votes, for 48 percent of the vote reported on early Wednesday morning.

On the question of taxing such sales, 51 percent of the voters said yes to 2C, while 49 percent said no.

"I'm glad the people got to speak their voice, and I'm excited to go with that," Bayfield Mayor Matt Salka said on Tuesday night. The town has other issues requiring attention, such as an updated water plan, and having a definite "no" from the voters frees up more staff time and resources for those matters, he added.

There were reportedly several businesses interested in opening marijuana dispensaries in Bayfield, although the local ordinance would have capped the number at three.

Public comments and letters to the editor on the issues were basically divided into two camps. Proponents said Bayfield needs the tax revenue that legalized marijuana sales could provide, while opponents said it was detrimental to Bayfield's small-town values and family-friendly image.

Current and past members of the town board said they wanted to put the issue before voters to get a definitive answer on the issue.

Salka and other trustees said they have no interest in bringing the marijuana sales issue to voters again anytime soon.

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