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Selectmen Discuss Marijuana Production By-laws

by Matt Ristaino
August 21, 2018

The Board of Selectmen discussed the town’s laws and policies regarding marijuana production facilities at its meeting on Monday. Town planner Karen Sherman gave the Board an overview of what the current situation is, and what steps must be taken going forward.

First and foremost, the town will again vote on whether or not to ban retail marijuana facilities in Holliston. Last year, the town voted in favor of banning such establishments.

However, since that vote, the state legislature and attorney general have made changes to the state’s marijuana statutes. This means that the ballot question about banning retail facilities must be re-worded to reflect the current state-wide language, and voted on again.

There will be a public hearing sometime in the next month or so, before Town Meeting, where residents will be able to voice their opinions on the issue.

As of right now, there are no by-laws banning retail marijuana facilities in town, only a moratorium. That moratorium expires at the end of December, so new by-laws must be written and enacted before then.

Sherman said the planning board recommended amending current zoning by-laws to address the issue of marijuana production facilities, rather than creating new ones. Some of those amendments may include use regulations (medical or recreational), site-plan reviews, and performance standards.

The town could also choose to limit production facilities to certain industrial zones or restrict what kind of production facilities are allowed.

Currently there is one operational marijuana production facility in Holliston, with two more on the way.

At the meeting, the Board approved host community agreements for two of those facilities, Mayflower Medicinals and Mass Botanicals.

Mayflower Medicinals is currently operating in Holliston, and is changing over their production from medical use to recreational use. Mass Botanicals is not yet operational, but will produce marijuana for recreational use as well.

Adam Fine, the attorney representing both companies, made it clear that neither facility has any intention of having retail facilities in Holliston. They are strictly cultivation and product manufacturing facilities.

The approvals of both host agreements are contingent on the addition of language that ensures that the town cannot be held liable in the case that a person suffers some sort of accident as a result of consuming the product that was produced in Holliston.

At the beginning of the meeting, town administrator Jeff Ritter updated the Board about a couple of ongoing projects and issues in town.

Ritter relayed a report from Mark Frank, director of parks and recreation, about the department’s programs and future plans. According to the report, the department will offer a boat rental program at Stoddard lake next summer, and is expecting to see increased participation in its after school programs this fall, which are in their second year. A fall survey will also be sent out soon to determine which future projects should be prioritized.

The installation of a new HVAC system at the library should be completed by early September, Ritter said. Ritter also said that there are two finalists for the building inspector position, and the Board will interview the two candidates next Monday.

In other business, the Board approved event permits for the Waushakum Live Streamers this coming weekend, the Casserly Wedding reception on September 22, and the Historical Society Harvest Fair on September 23.

The Board also approved one day alcoholic beverage licenses for the community farm “Farm to Table” dinner on August 25 and the all-class Holliston High School reunion on October 6.

Selectman Mark Ahronian was not present at this week’s meeting.

 

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Comments (2)

Vince, I don't see why you're so opposed. It's not a dispensary, it's a growing facility that's going to create good jobs for real Americans.

- Mike P | 8/25/18 8:57 AM

Really? You like false equivalencies and all?

It's really just a production facility. The voters have spoken pretty loudly about NOT wanting a dispensary (either medicinal or recreational) here in town. If we are doing everything "for the children", then perhaps we need to shut down the gun shop, stop the sales of cigarettes, alcohol, and even obesity inducing candy too. Let's ban all auto traffic other than school buses too.

- Vince Packard | 8/23/18 12:02 PM

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