Recreational marijuana bylaw draft to be reviewed in 3 weeks

By Shenandoah Briere | May 22, 2018

An Adult Use Marijuana Bylaw draft is expected to be discussed at the Planning Board's next meeting in three weeks in order to get it on the Fall Town Meeting agenda.

At its May 21 meeting, board members voted to set a limit of two recreational facilities  in town, and maintain the same 4,000 linear square foot distance limit between the two set forth in the medical marijuana bylaw.

"I think we should walk before we run,” board member John Sousa said.

The board also deliberated over areas to zone after receiving word back from the New Bedford Business Park, which is partially located in Dartmouth’s general industrial district.

According to the park, it has a rule stating it doesn’t allow businesses, which do not follow federal laws. Currently, the federal government bans the use of recreational marijuana. This meant a recreational facility looking to build in the area would be unable to by business park standards.

Initially, Planning Director John Hansen recommended to exclude the business park from recreational marijuana zoning by limiting it to the town's office and limited industrial districts on Ledgewood Boulevard and Ventura Drive.

Sousa suggested keeping the general industrial area in play even if the park’s policy doesn’t allow for it because the park could eventually change its stance on marijuana. Other members agreed with him.

“If we allow it in these other two others why not include the general industry just in case there’s a change down the road?” Sousa said. “And there could be a change in the federal laws.”

Eventually the board members agreed to include all three areas.

The board will meet again on June 11 to meet the July deadline for Fall Town Meeting.

While it remains to be seen who will put in bids to open recreational shops in Dartmouth, three companies so far have declared interest in opening medical facilities in town.

Out of those three, only Elevated Access secured the required special permit from the Planning Board for construction in December. The company signed a host agreement with the town in February for its planned Faunce Corner Road facility.

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