158 proposals for medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts made it through the first round of the application process last month. That number will be whittled down after a November deadline. Meanwhile, many cities and towns are pursuing zoning laws or moratoriums aimed at prohibiting or delaying marijuana facilities. That includes Whately, a small town in Franklin County, where a dispensary has been proposed. Next week residents will consider a moratorium at a town meeting. Don Sluter is chair of the town’s planning board.
“We originally had asked for a one-year moratorium, but we could certainly go for a shorter moratorium,” says Sluter. “We just need time to get some zoning in place.”
The group supporting a dispensary in town, according to the Hampshire Daily Gazette, say a year-long moratorium could kill their proposal, but a shorter delay would keep it viable. Sluter says the moratorium is not intended to nix the marijuana facility, and he says the development could be good for the town.The moratorium must pass the town meeting by a two-thirds majority. Several other western Massachusetts communities have approved similar measures, including Springfield, Westfield, Longmeadow, and Hadley.