WILLIAMSTOWN — After debating an outright ban on marijuana-related businesses, voters at annual town meeting on Wednesday opted to require a special permit for such operations in two of the town's designated business districts.

The special permit requirement came as an amendment to warrant Article 36, which sought to establish zoning restrictions on marijuana sales, production or testing facilities.

Voters approved every budgetary proposal with very little opposition during the annual town meeting, which was attended by 280 of the town's 4,952 registered voters.

In other action, voters agreed to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day, and a measure to consider the town a "pollinator friendly" community. And residents endorsed Police Chief Kyle Johnson's policy limiting immigration enforcement to specific judicial warrants.

The original marijuana plan sought to restrict such businesses to Limited Business districts, and it required a special permit for such businesses in the Southern Gateway business district, relegating those uses mostly to commercial areas on the outskirts of town.

Select Board member Anne O'Connor offered an amendment that would scrap the zoning change in favor of an outright ban of marijuana-related businesses. That would have required a new bylaw approved by town boards and a ballot initiative passed by voters sometime in the future.

O'Connor noted that while 60 percent of Williamstown voters approved the Question 4 ballot initiative legalizing the use and production of recreational marijuana, they may not have been endorsing sales of marijuana in town.

By limiting marijuana businesses in certain zones, O'Connor said, it could appear to local youth that the town is saying that marijuana use is acceptable.

"We can choose to ban it and make it clear to our children where we stand," O'Connor said. "Home use will still be legal (in town)."

Select Board member Hugh Daley said if the zoning change isn't made now, and the attempt to ban marijuana business from town also fails, there would be no protections from marijuana shops opening in places they might not be welcome.

Eventually, voters set aside that amendment and agreed instead to amend the measure to require a special permit for any marijuana business looking to open in the Planned Business district or the Southern Gateway zone. The vote was 207 to 36. The intention was to move forward on a possible ban at a later date.

In approving expenditures, voters endorsed a fiscal 2018 operating budget of $19.6 million, an 8.8 percent increase in spending for fiscal 2017.

The budget includes $7.3 million for general government, $6.3 million to fund Williamstown Elementary School, $6.3 million for Mount Greylock Middle and High School and $878,748 for the capital improvement program.

Among the spending proposals, voters agreed to allocate $25,000 for a broadband feasibility study on the possible expansion of higher speed broadband services, market conditions, cost, operations and technical needs.

Reach staff writer Scott Stafford at 413-496-6301.