Easton Officials to Discuss Marijuana Dispensary Zoning Implications
With a new law allowing the use of medical marijuana, Easton is considering dispensary zoning options.
The Easton Selectmen voted Monday night to refer the issue of medical marijuana dispensary zoning to the planning and zoning Board.
Town Administrator David Colton said the town should take appropriate steps regarding Easton's zoning laws given the new law passed in Massachusetts that allows for 35 marijuana dispensaries in the Bay State.
"It’s a good idea that every city and town should look at their zoning to see where you should allow these to open," he said.
The new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1 passed on a ballot question last month with 63 percent of the vote. It allows for 35 marijuana dispensaries, including one in each of Massachusetts' 14 counties but no more than five per county.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a statement last month ensuring that it would work with local officials to regulate the use of medical marijuana.
“Under the ballot measure passed on November 6th, the Department of Public Health is responsible for regulating medical marijuana in Massachusetts." the statement said. "The Department will work closely with health care and public safety officials to develop smart and balanced policies and procedures over the coming months. We will work carefully, learn from other states' experiences, and put a system in place that is right for Massachusetts.”
Board of Selectmen Chair Colleen Corona said other communities are already putting zoning plans in place in regards to medical marijuana dispensaries.
In Peabody, the City Council voted to ban dispensaries altogether.
Easton Selectmen expect the Planning and Zoning Board to discuss the issue in coming weeks so the town is fully prepared should any zoning changes be necessary.
"There are strict controls of the law - how you can do it, where you can do it and when you can do it," Colton said. "It’s worth a look."