Selectmen approve marijuana moratorium | Millbury Sutton Chronicle

Board of Selectmen Chair John Hebert said he was in favor of approving a moratorium on marijuana.
Photo by Robert Fucci

After a lengthy presentation regarding marijuana regulations and prohibitions by Planning Director Jen Hager, the Sutton Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a moratorium on marijuana for 2018 and passed a motion to place a question for Annual Town Election on May 23 to prohibit all recreational marijuana establishments.

The moratorium will be until Halloween of 2018.

According to Hager, the recommendation to place the question on the Annual Town Election ballot came from town counsel.

The ballot question prohibits one or more types of recreational marijuana uses and limits the number of recreational marijuana establishments 20 percent of the number of off-premises liquor licenses.

The Town of Westborough recently tackled this issue and Hager said Sutton can use the question language Westborough used during its most recent election.

Medical marijuana was allowed via legislation from 2012. It cannot be prohibited, but towns are authorized to regulate it. Should a town choose not to regulate it, medical marijuana facilities can go wherever a similar use would otherwise be allowed.

Sutton would have some control through a letter of non-opposition, Hager said.

The legislation does allow the commercial production and sale to be prohibited and the town can also choose the types to allow or prohibit (cultivation, testing, processing, retail store).

Marijuana cafes for on-site consumption may also be proposed via a ballot question sponsored by a set percentage of voters.

“If you don’t prohibit recreational marijuana, it would appear that you have to allow recreational marijuana wherever you allow medical marijuana,” Hager warned.

Currently, the Sutton Planning Board is sponsoring an article to create a Medical Marijuana Overlay District (MMOD) and regulate this use in the zoning bylaw. It has scheduled a public hearing for April 10. The MMOD is currently proposed as South Sutton Commerce Park in the Office Light Industrial (OLI) District.

“I really want to hear from voters on this,” Selectman David Hall said. “Although the law itself passed easily in the state, in Sutton it didn’t pass. I think a lot of issues around recreational use haven’t been thought through. From my perspective, I’m not bothered by grow facilities or process facilities. I’m concerned about retail facilities. I’m having a hard time envisioning a good retail location. Let the voters tell us what they think.”

During Special Town Meeting on Jan. 3, registered voters in neighboring Millbury supported to amend zoning bylaws and add a temporary moratorium on marijuana establishments and the sale or distribution of marijuana and marijuana products.

All copyrights for this article are reserved to Pot Internet Search

Comments are closed.