Natick Reacts After AG Strikes Down Medical Marijuana Bans
The Attorney General's office has ruled that towns can't ban medical marijuana dispensaries, but they can regulate them. A couple of Natick officials explain what effect this has locally and how they are currently handling the issue of medical marijuana i
The Massachusetts attorney general's office struck down a local law in Wakefield banning medical marijuana dispensaries, according to the Boston Globe.
The Globe report went on to state that the attorney general's office did rule that towns can regulate the centers.
"[Natick's] position at this point is to embrace a moratorium on the matter until the State comes up with guidance and requirements for implementing and monitoring these dispensaries," Board of Selectmen Chairperson Paul Joseph wrote in an email.
Joseph continued by writing that after the moratorium the Town would "manage the potential placement of these businesses through a change to our zoning bylaw."
Joseph wrote that a townwide zoning bylaw review/rewrite is in process (he notes that it's not specifically medical marijuana), with phase 1 (of 2 phases) coming to Spring Town Meeting. (Natick Patch will have more on Town Meeting in the coming weeks)
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Erica Dinerman is the Director of Natick Together for Youth, a coalition of community leaders who work to keep local youth safe and healthy through education and prevention of drug use.
"Our concern has always been for the safety of our youth given the disquieting experiences other states have had," said Dinerman, who is also the Prevention Specialist for the Natick Public Schools.
"It is still a drug and like alcohol, many people are able to use it safely and responsibly," Dinerman said. "But there is a percentage of the population who will abuse it."
One thing that has been discussed frequently since voters voted in support of medical marijuana in November is how vague the law in Massachusetts is, and it is still being pieced together. Dinerman, in fact, has a couple of ideas.
"My suggestions for regulation are to allow studies that should be done to approve and regulate the drug by the FDA if we are calling this medicine," she said. "If we call it what it really is and how it is primarily used- a recreational drug- then legalization, regulation and taxation may make more sense at this point."