Marion, Mattapoisett to hold hearings on marijuana sales Feb. 5

Jan 31, 2018

The towns of Marion and Mattapoisett are holding separate public hearings on Monday, February 5, regarding the sale of recreational marijuana.

In Marion, the hearing will be held at the Town House Conference Room, 2 Spring Street, at 7:20 p.m.

Mattapoisett's public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. at Old Hammondtown School.

Both towns are separately considering whether to impose a moratorium on permits for recreational marijuana dispensaries until December 31 of this year. Voters in each town will have to approve moratoriums at upcoming Town Meetings.

Cheryl Sbarra, senior staff attorney for the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, will attend Marion's hearing to listen to residents' concerns and answer questions. Sbarra provides technical assistance, policy guidance, and legal education to boards of health throughout the state.

There are currently no state regulations in place for the sale of recreational marijuana, which voters approved at the ballot in November of 2016. Without knowing how the state will regulate the retailers, municipal governments are finding it difficult to draft bylaws regulating local sales.

The state has a March 15 deadline to get its regulations in place. On April 1, retailers will be able to apply for licenses to sell marijuana. Establishments will be able to open in July. Without local bylaws in place, marijuana dispensaries could open in any area zoned for retail. The moratoriums will give towns time to draft and pass bylaws regulating where marijuana sales establishments can open.

Marion will vote on its moratorium at Town Meeting on Thursday, February 15, at 6:45 p.m. at Sippican School. Mattapoisett will consider its own moratorium on Tuesday, February 12, at 6:30 p.m. at Old Rochester Regional High School.

The Town of Rochester approved its moratorium last May. It extends until July of this year.