Medical marijuana is coming to Massachusetts. The medical marijana ballot initiative that passed in November's election with 63 percent voter approval means that up to 35 medical marijuana dispensaries can open up in the state in 2013.
The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, but requires rules and regulations be set up by the Department of Public Health.
Norwood residents voted "yes" on the ballot question by a vote of 7,766 to 6,144. Before election day, Norwood Police Chief William G. Brooks III submitted a letter to the editor where he said, "Marijuana is a street drug; it is not medicine. The passage of Question 3 would lead to an increase in crime and the diversion of marijuana to adolescents."
On Tuesday the chief spoke to the Board of Selectmen about revisiting the issue of special zoning bylaws now that the law has been passed. Some nearby communities, including Easton, are already looking into the issue, and the Walpole Board of Selectmen is gathering support to petition legislators to delay the effective date of the law to allow spring Town Meetings to vote on zoning.
Chief Brooks suggested that dispensaries be zoned with the already established "adult uses" bylaw, section 7 of the Norwood Zoning Bylaws, which states:
An adult bookstore, adult motion picture theater, adult dance club, adult video store, or adult paraphernalia store shall not be closer than 1000 feet from a residential boundary line, school, house of worship, another adult use establishment....
The purpose of the zoning, as stated by the law is "to address and mitigate" the secondary effects - such as increased crime, adverse impacts on public health, adverse impacts on the business climate of the Town, adverse impacts on the property values of residential and commercial properties, and adverse impacts on the quality of life in the Town - of the so-called "adult use" and sexually oriented businesses.
What do you think of special zoning for medical Marijuana dispensaries? Do you think including it in the "adult use" zone is acceptable? Tell us in the comments!