Medical Marijuana Zoning Bylaw Discussed

Betsy Dunn and Albin Johnson of the Marion Board of Health came before the Marion Planning Board to discuss the issue of a medical marijuana zoning bylaw in Marion.

The consensus was to let the state regulations prevail rather than fight the facilities, in the process saving the town hours of regulation and possible litigation, which might prove futile on the issue.

“The annual fee for running a medical marijuana practice requires a $500,000 bond and a $50,000 license per year to be in business,” Dunn said. “That will dominate the issue and have the state regulations prevail.”

Dunn presented information and statistics and noted that only those diagnosed with medical conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, HIV, Hepatitis C, ALC, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and others would qualify one for use of medical marijuana.

A patient must obtain written certification from a physician with whom the patient has a “bona fide” physician-patient relationship. That relationship would qualify the individual for a “60-day supply” of ten ounces for a period of one year.

The board agreed to put the issue to Town Counsel Jon Witten for an opinion.

Next up was a healthy discussion about the Master Plan for the town. Much discussion ensued, with each board member giving input.

“When you look at the matrix, this is more than we can deal with over our time on the board over the next two to three years,” said board member Rico Ferrari, comparing the 2015 Master Plan with those of 1996, 1988, and 1974. “We need to prioritize, as a Planning Board, to find out what we can accomplish and put a target end date on those items.”

Board member Jay Ryder chimed in and noted that “most of the people who live here don’t want the town to change … they want it to stay the same.” The board agreed to Ryder’s sentiments, but also agreed that young people in town don’t vote or attend town meetings.

“How do we tap these young people?” asked board member Steve Gonsalves.

The board agreed to move the Master Plan forward with input from town residents.

“They won’t vote against it if they had input,” Ryder said.

The board agreed to revisit the Master Plan for the town and come up with a survey and possible weekend for young and old to come together to form a plan for Marion’s future.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry


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