In the 2012 election Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use when 63% of voters approved Question 3. The law gave the Department of Health 120 days to decide on statewide regulations. But, some Massachusetts towns are attempting to pass preemptive measures that would buy them more time to figure out how to deal with potential pot dispensaries.
This week the town of Burlington, MA approved a moratorium on dispensaries that effectively prohibits pot shots until June 30, 2014. According to town representatives, the moratorium is necessary in order to give Burlington time to come up with its own regulations as well as give the state time to provide recommendations.
Burlington Planning Director Kirsten Kassner explained that a moratorium was the best approach as outright prohibition could be challenged and overturned at the state level.
But why the need for a moratorium? Planning Board Chairman Paul Roth claims, “This is protection for the town … If an application comes in next week they could try and put it anywhere and we’d have to fight it … Do not underestimate the band of attorneys ready to try and get a foot in the door.”
True, Roth does sounds a bit paranoid. But who wouldn’t be concerned about an impending influx of peaceful and responsible business people invading a town and paying taxes.