Marijuana Dispensary Bylaw Being Mulled

Town officials will discuss a suggested bylaw amendment on Tuesday.

A placeholder has been put on the warrant for this year's annual town meeting to pass a bylaw amendment regarding medical marijuana dispensaries.

In November, Massachusetts passed a law legalizing medical marijuana and allowing for at least one dispensary in each county.

While some town officials say the chances of Norfolk County's dispensary ending up in Medfield are slim -- especially with more-populated towns of Braintree, Brookline, Quincy, Randolph, and Stoughton in the county -- Medfield town officials want to be proactive.

In January, a medical company calling itself CannaMed of Boston opened its doors in Framingham (though its address has not been made public), just 10 miles from Medfield. That company is reportedly booked through the end of February.

"Although I think it's a remote possibility for Medfield, it's better to have something on the books than nothing on the books," said Planning Board Chairman Elissa Franco at the board's meeting on Jan. 28.

The Planning Board and Board of Selectmen plan to discuss the issue at the selectmen's meeting on Feb. 5.

Town officials have suggested the Industrial-Extensive zone as the area in which a medical marijuana dispensary would be located. That zone essentially runs along Route 27, north of West Street, west toward Millis, and east toward Mill Street and Ice House Road bordering on Copperwood Road (see attached map).

In a memo sent from Town Planner Sarah Raposa to selectmen on Jan. 18 (and posted on Medfield02052, the personal blog of Selectman Osler"Pete" Peterson)...

The intent of this bylaw amendment is to address possible adverse public health and safety consequences related to the passage of Question 3 on the November 6, 2012 State Referendum. It is the purpose of this amendment to minimize any potential adverse impacts on the quality of life in the Town.  It is the intent of this bylaw amendment to establish specific zoning standards and regulations for medical marijuana centers (treatment and dispensing facilities), medical marijuana infused products, medical marijuana paraphernalia, etc;

To provide for the limited establishment of Medical Marijuana Treatment and Dispensing Facilities in appropriate places and under strict conditions in acknowledgment of the passage of Initiative Petition 11-11 (Question #3 on the November, 2012 state ballot);

To minimize the adverse impacts of Medical Marijuana Treatment and Dispensing Facilities on adjacent properties, residential neighborhoods, schools and other places where children congregate, local historic districts, and other land uses potentially incompatible with said  Facilities;

To regulate the siting, design, placement, safety, monitoring, modification, and removal of Medical Marijuana Treatment and Dispensing Facilities; and

To limit the overall number of Medical Marijuana Treatment and Dispensing Facilities in the Town to what is essential to serve the public necessity.Receive updates to this story -- on Wednesday, Feb. 6 -- and other breaking news in your inbox or smartphone by signing up for our newsletter here.

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