Medical Marijuana Subcommittee considers zoning revision

by Karina Coombs

The town’s Medical Marijuana Subcommittee has gotten underway, holding its first meeting in mid-September. It is charged with recommending how to regulate marijuana dispensaries. At the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting on September 30, ZBA Chair Lisa Davis Lewis provided an update on the committee, of which she is the ZBA representative.

Last April, Town Meeting passed a moratorium on construction of medical marijuana treatment centers newly allowed under state law. The moratorium expires on June 30, 2014.

Lewis explained that the subcommittee’s goal is to get a Zoning Bylaw to the Board of Selectmen in time for the next Town Meeting in April 2014. Because the state regulations for medical Marijuana go into effect on or about June 2014, Lewis emphasized that zoning needs to be in place. “You can’t zone [medical Marijuana facilities] out,” she said.

While the subcommittee does not envision a distribution center in Carlisle, it is not outside of the realm of possibility for someone to grow within the town limits. “We do have a history of farming here,” said member Steve Hinton. “We even have a history of farming [marijuana] here.”

Lewis said she believed that a special permit should be required for both growing and/or distribution. However, she is still trying to determine what kind of permit to require, with neighboring towns classifying the business as light industrial or manufacturing.

The subcommittee planned to meet again on October 2.∆