FUNKY KINGSTON? Officials pushing for pot-shop moratorium to steer away dispensaries
TOWN HOUSE- It’s been nearly eight months since Massachusetts voters resoundingly approved the legalization of medical marijuana, opening the door for construction of “pot pharmacies,” but it wasn’t until Monday night’s Planning Board meeting that the discussion officially came to Kingston.
“There are reams of siting issues,” Town Planner Tom Bott (pictured) said as he pushed for a town moratorium on marijuana dispensaries. “From the type of landscaping to where you deliver….a van can deliver things, it can’t have any markings on it. There’s gotta be two guys in the van, they can’t stop on the way.”
Bott suggested that Kingston’s moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries could steer pot shops away from Kingston.
“Maybe buying that time, that moratorium might invoke somebody to say ‘well, I really want to open my medical marijuana treatment center and I don’t want to wait for the moratorium to end [in Kingston] so I’ll go somewhere else instead,'” Bott told the Planning Board. “I’m thinkin’ Plymouth, sorry.”
Bott said the town-wide moratorium, which would be only a temporary ban, would need the nod from town meeting to go forward.
Soon after Wakefield prohibited treatment facilities, Attorney General Martha Coakley responded by saying town’s cannot permanently put the kibosh on prescription pot. “For if one municipality could do so, presumably all could do so,” Coakley has stated.
“The act’s legislative purpose could not be served if a municipality could prohibit treatment centers within their borders,” Coakley responded to the Wakefield Town Clerk several months ago.
In November’s elections last year, Massachusetts voters approved medical marijuana (Question 3) with 63% of the vote. Only two Massachusetts’ 363 communities, Lawrence and Mendon, rejected Question 3.
Bott recognized Coakley’s position at Monday night’s meeting, prompting the Planning Board’s Chairman, Tom Bouchard, to suggest Mary O’Donnell’s property along Marion Drive as a possible suitor for a dispensary.
“We’ll have to talk to Mary [O’Donnell],” Bouchard joked. “She’s got a lot of space down there.”
Fellow Planning Board-member Mike Ruprecht asked Bott for a definition of the dispensaries designation as “treatment centers.”
“The preferred method for ingesting marijuana at these places is a vaporizer,” Bott told Ruprecht. “So they will demonstrate…how to use a vaporizer. The only thing will be those demonstrations.”
Before the marijuana moratorium is brought before town meeting, the local ordinance will go through a zoning bylaw public hearing, which is “good for six months,” according to Bott.
If a moratorium is passed at town meeting, Kingston would join Halifax and become the second town in the Silver Lake District to do so.