Medical Marijuana

Montague medical marijuana talk set for Tuesday

TURNERS FALLS — The Montague Planning Board will meet Tuesday to discuss medical marijuana dispensaries, having delayed discussion at an earlier meeting in order to gather public input on the town’s options.

In Montague as elsewhere, the referendum legalizing medical marijuana and providing for dispensaries passed by a strong majority in the November 2012 election. Montague voters backed the move 2,946 to 1,154. With 72 percent in favor, Montague voters precisely mirrored the countywide results.

The Planning Board asked Town Planner Walter Ramsey to draft a list of options for consideration at the hearing.

Options to be considered include allowing dispensaries by-right in commercial districts only, allowing them subject to special permit in commercial and industrial districts only, or adopting a one-year moratorium to undertake a study and thorough planning.

At present, a dispensary would be considered a retail sales and service establishment and therefore allowed by right in the general business, neighborhood business, central business, rural business and historic industrial districts, and by special permit in industrial districts.

Either of the possible zoning changes listed would constitute a restriction, either by limiting the possible zones or by making placement in the currently permissible zones subject to a special permit.

Ramsey said the listed options are just to get the conversation started.

Applications to run dispensaries were due last week to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and seven of 181 applications submitted for 35 slots named Franklin County as a first choice.

The board meets at 6:30 p.m. in the top floor meeting room of the Town Hall, 1 Avenue A, with the discussion scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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