Local Medical Marijuana Restrictions 'Premature,' Advocate Says
The annual town meeting is Saturday.
Adopting local medical marijuana restrictions is "premature, since the state has yet to issue regulations that will address many aspects of treatment center operation," Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance Executive Director Matt Allen said Wednesday.
The Westborough Planning Board will ask voters at Saturday’s annual town meeting to approve zoning restrictions -- not a total ban -- on medical marijuana dispensaries and growing in town, Chairman Lester Hensley said today.
The bylaw proposal included the restrictions as a fall-back option in case the Massachusetts attorney general's office struck down such a local ban. Wednesday, the attorney general struck down Wakefield's ban, according to the Boston Globe.
The town meeting starts at 1 p.m. at Westborough High School.
The proposal is the board's response to Massachusetts' new medical marijuana law, which took effect Jan. 1. Voters approved the new law at the Nov. 6 statewide election. Westborough residents supported the measure, Question 3 on the ballot, 5,367 to 3,347.
No medical marijuana advocates spoke against the proposal during the planning board's Feb. 5 public hearing.
Allen said his organization consists of "medical marijuana patients, family members, medical professionals, and public health groups from across the Commonwealth. We are currently focused on supporting the promulgation of strong and balanced regulations at the state level.”
The alliance does not oppose "local regulation of medical treatment centers," Allen said.
“The overwhelming majority of cities and towns in the Commonwealth have taken no action to restrict operation of medical marijuana treatment centers because they understand that many concerns will be addressed by regulations issued at the state level in May,” Allen said.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health plans to present draft state regulations on March 29, the Globe reports.