Ashland is leading the way when it comes to dealing rationally with the issue of legal medical marijuana and potentially legal recreational pot.
Unlike some local communities, where civic leaders seem determined to discourage any and all marijuana transactions, Ashland took a more measured approach. The city first declared a moratorium on medical dispensaries as allowed under state law. Then, after moving quickly to establish reasonable restrictions on location, operating hours and the like, the city lifted the ban and allowed dispensaries to open when they received state licenses.
That's a better approach than enacting a moratorium and then announcing it would remain in place as long as possible. Other towns also have imposed a tax on marijuana sold in dispensaries.
Ashland proposed a medical tax, although at half the 10-percent rate proposed for potential recreational sales. Opposition from three of the five City Council members present at Tuesday's meeting, however, left the tax rate at zero for medical marijuana.
Even the 10-cent rate on recreational pot may be problematic. The ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana contains language barring local governments from levying any tax, although specifies that cities will receive 20 percent of state tax revenue from pot sales.
It's unclear whether city taxes enacted before the ballot measure vote would be grandfathered in.
In any case, the political wind appears to be blowing toward greater acceptance of marijuana use both for medical and recreational purposes. It's better to adopt reasonable regulations, as Ashland is doing, than to try to resist.