Medical marijuana is coming to Massachusetts and Framingham Planning Board members said they don’t want to stand in the way of businesses that are interested in the town. They also said that they want to wait for guidance from the state before approving new zoning regulations.
“We’ve developed a bylaw but we’re waiting to see if it will fit with the state’s direction,” Chairman of the Planning Board Tom Mahoney said. “This moratorium gives us time to wait for the state’s guidance.”
While no residents chose to comment on the moratorium, when the Planning Board took up the original zoning bylaw after several residents commented about the need for medical marijuana in town.
“This is a place where people will need a card to get in and to get out,” Jim Pillsbury said. “This will only be a place for people who are sick.”
Planning Board members, who were discussing not supporting the zoning bylaw for this Annual Town Meeting, said they wouldn’t want to give a business the run-around.
“We’d hate to accept someone based on our bylaws and then when the state bylaws come down we’d have to go back and tell them no,” Planning Board member Andrea Carr-Evans said.
Pillsbury, while reiterating his support for the zoning approval, emphasized that weed is becoming a legal plant.
“It’s not a strip club, it’s not a place where you can crush up antihistamines and make crystal meth, it’s a plant just like a tomato,” he said.
Ultimately the board sent the draft zoning regulations to the town’s legal counsel for more review and a decision about how the state regulations might change the town’s regulations. They said if and when the guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Health comes down they would be willing to have a special town meeting.
The Planning Board also discussed changes to the general manufacturing zoning bylaw, which was tabled to await legal counsel's input, and a commercial solar panel zoning district that was positively recommended to Annual Town Meeting Thursday night.