Swampscott Eyes on Marijuana Rules and Ruling
Swampscott officials attended a workshop last week on the medical marijuana law.
Town officials will be watching two regulatory items related to towns and medical marijuana dispensaries.
The items are the attorney general's review of by-laws prohibiting the dispensaries in several Massachusetts towns including Wakefield and Reading, said Swampscott Town Administrator Tom Younger.
The other item is the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's establishment of regulations governing the dispensaries. The department has until the end of April to establish the rules.
Younger was one of four Swampscott officials at the Local Government and Medical Marijuana workshop at the Massachusetts Municipal Association's annual meeting last week.
He was joined by town Planner Pete Kane and Selectmen Barry Greenfield and Glenn Kessler.
Last fall voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The voting on Question 3 in Swampscot was:
The law allows up to 35 nonprofit dispensaries in the state, the town administrator said.
There must be at least one in each county, he said.
About 100 people crowded a Hynes Auditorium room to hear panelists including a health director from Reading, Wakefield and Melrose, Ruth Clay, a lawyer, Barbara Sainte Andre, and an assistant police chief, Walpole Deputy Police Chief John Carmichael.
What was clear is that Massachusetts communities are trying to get a handle on how the new law will apply to their towns and cities, Younger said.
The communities are waiting to see what will happen with the attorney general's review and the health department's regulations.
In the meantime, Swampscott selectmen will receive an update next week on the MMA workshop from the town administrator.
In 2012 Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana. Patients with HIV, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, or other conditions can obtain a card from the state allowing them to purchase the drug.