Medford, MA is preparing for the potential openings of medical marijuana dispensaries by developing special ordinances to regulate location and operating time.
Medford, Massachusetts may not have any planned openings of marijuana dispensaries, but that’s not stopping the city from preparing for them. City officials are hard at work developing an ordinance that will help regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in city limits. Medford has seen quite a bit of interest from potential applicants, and is taking steps to prepare for dispensary openings.
Mark Rumley, City Solicitor, presented Medford City Council members with a draft of the ordinance, under which dispensaries would be required to hold a Special Permit in order to operate legally within the city. The permit would need to be distributed by the council.
Thus far, there are only four dispensary locations listed on Weedy in the state of Massachusetts. These dispensaries are located in the cities of Northampton, Salem, Ayer and Brockton. But more dispensaries are being planned across the state, so local municipalities are developing local regulations to ensure that cannabis stores are operating legally.
Karen Rose, Board Of Health Director, said that while people are interested in opening dispensaries in Medford, no one is at the point of applying yet.
The voters of Massachusetts approved medical marijuana in 2012. Patients must obtain a prescription from a physician in order to obtain the drug, and they must be suffering from an eligible condition, such as cancer, seizures, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.
Dispensaries in the state are only allowed to provide patients with 4.23 ounces of marijuana every two months.
On top of the state certification requirement, dispensary applicants must also meet other requirements that local municipalities establish.
Under the proposed ordinance in Medford, known as “Safe Access to Medical Marijuana,” applicants will pay $1,500 for the permit from the City Council. However, the city will likely increase this fee once it has a chance to compare rates against other established communities. Boston currently charges $10,000 per year, while Brookline charges a $21,000 application fee and an additional $11,000 fee for a permit. The permit must be reviewed annually.
The ordinance would also restrict dispensaries to industrial districts, and would only be allowed to operate between 8AM and 8PM. More dispensaries will not be allowed to sell tobacco products, vapors, alcohol, lottery tickets and other similar items. Samples would also be prohibited in the form of edibles – or any other form for that matter.
Dispensaries will need to register with the city’s fire and police departments as well as the building Commissioner. Any employees hired by dispensary will need to pass a background check conducted by local police.