Planning Board supports temporary marijuana business ban

By Matthew Bernat | Apr 12, 2017

The question of temporarily banning the sale of recreational marijuana in Wareham will be before voters at the April 24 Town Meeting.

On Monday night, the Planning Board threw its support behind the measure following a public hearing. In November, a majority of Massachusetts voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana. But exactly how that decision is rolled out for potential retailers must decided by state officials over the next year and half.

In the meantime, Director of Planning & Community Development Kenneth Buckland said local officials are taking a wait-and-see approach, hence the moratorium.

“The process is in flux right now, and its a process that will last until the beginning of next year, when the state prepares initial regulations for marijuana facilities,” said Buckland.

Should voters adopt the moratorium, recreational marijuana facilities will be barred from opening until June 30, 2018 at the earliest. Under the voter-approved ballot question, recreational sales were set to begin in January 2018. Earlier this year, the Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill that pushed that date back to the middle of 2018.

Buckland said that gives Wareham time to weigh its options when it comes to recreational marijuana. The moratorium does not affect the sale of medical marijuana, which has been legal in Massachusetts since 2012.

“So, we have a moratorium proposed for the middle of next year, after which point we should know what the initial regulations should be,” said Buckland. “At that time, we can do planning and find whether or not people want to prohibit or regulate marijuana in town.”

At the state level, the governor will appoint a Cannabis Advisory Board in August. By September, a Cannabis Control Commission will be tasked with exploring regulations. The state deadline for adopting rules for the sale of recreational marijuana is July 1, 2018.

Wareham’s Town Meeting will be held Monday, April, 24 starting at 7 p.m. in the Wareham High School auditorium. All registered voters are welcome to participate.

Comments (6)
Posted by: cranky pants | Apr 12, 2017 10:11

Drag your feet on something that will generate millions in revenue yet push for things that cost multi millions...

Way to go Wareham !!

I don't understand how it's even an option for prolonging this when the majority voted.

Posted by: Newlyaresident | Apr 13, 2017 07:33

I must be missing something. The town is going to vote to get to the same place that the governor has already ruled on?

Posted by: gottahaveit | Apr 13, 2017 08:29

Hopefully with a "pot shop" in town all the children in Wareham will have a nice warm ride to school on a bus.

Couldn't agree more cranky pants!

Posted by: cranky pants | Apr 14, 2017 07:12

It's already proven that Massachusetts is generating revenue off sales of rolling papers and paraphernalia. You want new fire trucks, roads repaired, perhaps a new police station ? Imagine if Wareham put a dispensary in its town the other neighboring towns people would flock to your town for sales and purchases.

We've already got methadone and Suboxone clinics, why not accept the times and go forward ?

Just push it through on another Monday night meeting and let's get this going.

Posted by: desertsky | Apr 14, 2017 09:04

The voters have spoken but when the pols don't like the message the dance begins...


Posted by: Uptohere | Apr 14, 2017 11:59

Yes by all means let's hurry up and bring in new revenue.  We still have a road to blame for accidents and buses can take the stoners to school.  Joy!!! Not everyone has blinders on or their head impacted in a very dark space.

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