AG: Cities, towns can’t ban marijuana dispensaries

(File/Reuters)
(File/Reuters)

Cities and towns can’t outright ban marijuana treatment centers – or dispensaries – from locating within the boundaries of the municipality after voters last year approved a ballot question to legalize medical marijuana in Massachusetts.

The decision released Wednesday by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office was in response to a move by the town of Wakefield, which enacted a bylaw to ban the dispensaries within the town. Coakley’s office said the bylaw was in conflict with the ballot vote that ensures access to marijuana treatment centers. 

“This legislative purpose could not be served if a municipality could prohibit treatment centers within its borders, for if one municipality could do so, we see no principled basis on which every other municipality could not do the same,” wrote Coakley in the decision. “The question is whether the legislative purpose of reasonable access to treatment centers could be achieved if every municipality banned them.”

State health officials are currently working on a draft of regulations to oversee the dispensaries. The law allows for up to 35 dispensaries in the state with at least one in each county and no more than five in one county.

Despite the decision not allowing an outright ban, Coakley’s office did approve a bylaw by the town of Burlington that temporarily banned the centers while the town reviews its zoning regulations. That temporary ban was put in place until June 2014.

“The temporary moratorium is consistent with the town’s authority to impose reasonable time limitations on development while it conducts planning studies and considers the implication of the state Department of Public Health regulations concerning such centers,” according to Coakley’s office.

Coakley’s office also ruled that cities and towns can enact zoning bylaws to regulate the dispensaries within the town’s borders.

The attorney general’s office reviews all bylaws adopted or amended by a city or town.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…