Zoning language roadblock for dual medical-recreational marijuana dispensary

Sep 24, 2018

A licensed medical marijuana dispensary had hoped to get into the recreational business as well, but may be blocked from doing so under the town’s pending recreational zoning bylaw.

Officials from the Elevated Access Center have no problems with the town’s medical marijuana bylaw, which it received a permit to operate under in 2017.

But houses located within the Faunce Corner Road business district could make its 508 Faunce Corner Road location ineligible for recreational sales, because the bylaw forbids facilities from operating within 500 feet of a residence.

Rebecca Adams, Executive Director of The Elevated Access Center, addressed the Planning Board on September 24 regarding an amendment she had proposed for Town Meeting, which would reduce the distance requirement to 100 feet and change it to apply to residential districts, not residences.

The changes would make the Elevated Access Center eligible to receive a recreational license for its yet-to-be-built facility, assuming Town Meeting voters approve both the bylaw and the amendment on October 16.

Adams said her company is exploring operating both a medical and recreational facility due to concerns about the future of the medical industry in the face of an easily accessible recreational market.

The company had drawn up a building design incorporating both a recreational and medical dispensary.

Adams said the company does not intend to move forward with proposing the amendment at Town Meeting, and asked the Planning Board to recommend it instead.

Planning Board Chairman Joel Avila said members had debated the residence versus residential district language at length when preparing the bylaw. Member Kevin Melo noted the company could apply for a variance.

It is unclear if the company will move forward. Adams declined to comment after the meeting.