Marion Planning Board talks recreational marijuana regulation

Dec 19, 2017

The Marion Planning Board is beginning to discuss what it might want to do regarding the regulation of recreational marijuana. But first, it wants to wait for state regulations.

The state has a March 15 deadline for its regulations on recreational marijuana, but is aiming to have drafts done by the end of the month. For Planning Board Chair Eileen Marum, it makes sense to wait for those and then draft a bylaw.

“We need to wait for the state,” she said. “A moratorium could be a wise move so we can get all the information and not rush the bylaws.”

On April 1, retailers will be able to apply for licenses to sell marijuana. If there is no local bylaw in place by April 1 indicating otherwise, dispensaries could open up in any area zoned for industrial retail. To enact a moratorium, the town would have to call a Special Town Meeting before the April 1 deadline for residents to vote on.

Planning Board member Jennifer Francis wondered if regardless of a new bylaw, recreational marijuana couldn’t be sold anywhere that it wasn’t an allowable use.

“Is it true that recreational marijuana marijuana couldn’t go in a residential zone because it’s not an allowable use? Or any zone where it’s not an allowable use because that’s how our bylaws are crafted?” Francis asked.

Board members weren’t sure, and said they wold have to ask the town’s attorney.

Marum said the Board of Health was planning on talking about recreational marijuana at its Jan. 8 meeting for those interested.