Sunday, April 07, 2013

State still hashing out medical marijuana regulations

Back in November when the ballot question legalizing medical marijuana was passed by over two-thirds of Massachusetts voters, there was a requirement that the state Department of Public Health would develop regulations governing the nonprofit operation of dispensaries (up to 35, with at least one facility in each county) in the state by May 1, 2013.

Towns are grappling with the issues of permitting and zoning to regulate the operation of these facilities in their towns.  In Pittsfield, Mayor Bianchi states "You want to have it regulated so that it's very specific as to the disbursement of it."  He is proposing that they would not be allowed within 500 feet of a residential zone, or one thousand feet of a school or church.

In the town of Pembroke, Greg Hanley, the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen has stated that they are leaning toward a moratorium. “It would buy us more time,” he said, noting that the town could work on the bylaw while the moratorium is in effect.

A number of towns are proposing moratoriums as this WGBH article states.   How Mass. Cities & Towns Are Handling Medical Marijuana

On March 13, 2013 Attorney General Martha Coakley issued decisions saying towns  are able to adopt zoning by-laws to regulate such treatment centers and to enact temporary moratoriums on the development of the centers,  however, towns are not permitted to enact a total ban on marijuana treatment centers.

For additional information, see our page Law About Prescription Drugs.