Board seeks moratorium on marijuana dispensaries

Business owners wishing to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Duxbury may have to wait two years, as the Planning Board has decided to look into a moratorium on the subject.

Duxbury does not currently have adult use zoning in town and to date has not had any businesses seeking space for adult use. With the increase in interest in medical marijuana dispensaries, the Board decided to seek a moratorium in order to allow for more time to discuss, and possibly plan, zoning for such businesses.

With 19 Phase One applications for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries in Plym- outh County – the third highest of any county in the state, behind Suffolk, 21, and Middlesex, 47 – the Board discussed the possibility of one of those entities landing in Duxbury.

“Plymouth County being the third most popular location for dispensary applications opened my eyes a bit as to the amount of interest in the county,” said Brian Glennon, Planning Board vice chair. “How that applies to Duxbury specifically there is no way to know, but it’s worth looking at as a possibility.”

Applications for dispensaries will be reviewed in two phases, according to the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services. Under Phase One, dispensary applicants will be reviewed for, among other things, non- profit status and financial viability. Applicants must also report whether any member of their proposed organization has a felony drug conviction.

Those who meet qualifications in Phase One will proceed to Phase Two this fall, when a selection committee will conduct an in-depth review and select dispensaries through a competitive process. Factors to be considered will be appropriateness of the site, geographical distribution of dispensaries, local support and the ability to meet the overall health needs of registered patients. The law allows DPH to register up to 35 non-profit dispensaries across the state, with at least one but no more than five per county.

Planning Director Thomas Broadrick offered to work with the town counsel to draft wording for a moratorium similar to the moratorium drafted by the town of Marshfield on the same issue. The moratorium would prevent any business entity from starting up a dispensary in town for at least two years. The moratorium would have to be approved at Town Meeting and would subsequently go until March 2016.