Selectmen Seek Input From Residents on Marijuana Dispensaries in Walpole
Walpole will have to decide whether they want to ban or welcome medical marijuana dispensaries in town.
The Walpole Board of Selectmen said at their meeting Tuesday that they will seek input from residents on whether they would like to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from setting up shop in town.
In the November elections, Massachusetts voted to approve Question 3 which legalized medical marijuana on the state level. Walpole also voted to approve the ballot question on election day with 7,492 votes for 'Yes' and 6,164 votes for 'No'.
The board decided to add a discussion on whether Walpole should set up bylaws to ban dispensaries to their meeting agenda for Jan. 22, 2013. They are hoping residents will take the opportunity to voice their opinions or concerns about the hot-button issue.
In addition, they will include two questions in a census mailing packet, mailed to residents in early January, asking their opinion about the prospect of medical marijuana dispensaries in Walpole.
"It was a ballot question, it’s a hot-button issue and I think it precludes us to get as much information as we possibly can before acting,” Selectmen Eric Kraus said.
Kraus said after discussion the town will have to decide whether they want to ban dispensaries from coming to Walpole, and if not, where would the best location for one be?
“If this board unanimously doesn’t want a dispensary there is a definite track, versus, we want it zoned properly and those are two very different thoughts,” he said.
“I want to make sure people know that we’re going to have this as a discussion. If people want to come in an voice their concern or their opinion we want to give them ample opportunity,” he said.
Several towns have already taken steps to ban dispensaries within their communities such as Saugus, Reading and Wakefield.
Conversely, in Natick, a company that specializes in technology for medical marijuana dispensaries has opened an office and will provide information to those thinking about starting a dispensary of their own.