NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

September 12, 2013

Salisbury to discuss zoning for medical marijuana facilities

SALISBURY — Selectmen want to sit down with Planning Board members next week in a workshop to discuss developing a new zoning article that will regulate the placement of legal medical marijuana facilities, a topic that could end up on the Oct. 28 Town Meeting warrant.

The issue arose at the board’s recent meeting after Town Manager Neil Harrington received a call from a party interested in possibly siting a marijuana cultivation facility in town. Harrington said he isn’t comfortable releasing the name of the individual or company involved or where the potential location may be. But he presented selectmen with their legal options on the complex issue surrounding the new law allowing marijuana to be sold legally for medicinal purposes in the state.

Salisbury is the second town in the region reporting calls of interest related to the placement of a state-approved indoor facility that would grow, cure and package marijuana for legal sale at state-approved dispensaries.

Last month, Georgetown selectmen heard a presentation by the principles of Medical Evolution, who want to locate a cultivation center there. But according to town planner Howard Snyder, Medical Evolution may not have been able to “secure” the building they hoped to lease on Jackman Street, which was located close to Interstate 95.

Georgetown Planning Board members were scheduled to hold a public hearing on a marijuana-related zoning bylaw last month as well, but the meeting was postponed until Sept. 18 due to a technicality, Snyder said. The 16-page document was formulated for Georgetown by the legal firm of Kopelman and Paige, which is also Salisbury’s legal counsel.

Although the state attorney general shot down the legality of communities simply outright banning medical marijuana facilities in their jurisdictions, Harrington said, the AG has allowed the institution of a temporary moratorium in communities that want to develop special zoning to regulate how and where such facilities can be located.

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