MASSACHUSETTS: The Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Sept. 24 not to support a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana facilities.
The moratorium was placed on a draft of the Oct. 21 Special Town Meeting warrant.
Without a bylaw in place, a dispensary could be allowed in any portion of the town’s business district that complies with the state’s marijuana regulations, according to Shrewsbury Principal Planner/Economic Development Coordinator Kristen D. Las.
The Planning Board had wanted the moratorium to give town officials enough time to “educate ourselves more” and draft a zoning bylaw regulating marijuana facilities in time for the Annual Town Meeting in May 2014, said Las.
However, the selectmen said they wanted to respect the will of the voters, and said they didn’t want to “zone out” a potential business.
Selectman James Kane said that medical marijuana is now well-regulated by the state’s Department of Public Health. “I just think the commonwealth has jumped ahead. We don’t need to bring this to Town Meeting,” he said.
Kane and other selectmen, however, encouraged Las to continue to draft a marijuana zoning bylaw without the moratorium.
Many communities across Massachusetts this year have placed moratoriums on marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers since voters approved medical marijuana use in 2012 state referendum.
Communities such as Westborough, Southborough, and Worcester, however, have made changes to their bylaws allowing the use of dispensaries in some areas of their communities.
In Shrewsbury, at least two individuals, John Glowik and Bill Mayerson, have indicated initial interest in operating a medical marijuana facility and have approached town officials, according to Las. However, neither of them has submitted a formal proposal.
Selectman Maurice M. DePalo said that Shrewsbury residents voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of allowing medical marijuana in the state referendum, and knew that, as a result, that there was a chance that a facility could exist in town.