Wareham Planning Board debates pot shop rules amid federal uncertainty

By Matthew Bernat | Jan 08, 2018
Photo by: Matthew Bernat On Monday, Planning Board Chair George Barrett and other members debated a bylaw regulating the sale of recreational marijuana in Wareham.

Recreational marijuana sales are set to begin in Massachusetts this year, and the Wareham Planning Board wants a new bylaw regulating pot shops enacted. However, recent policy changes from the Trump administration are leaving the future of marijuana sales across the country hazy.

On Jan. 8, board members discussed adopting guidelines for stores looking to set up in town once sales are legal in Massachusetts. At the state level, the Cannabis Control Commission is currently drafting a framework for the oversight of retail marijuana shops. Those shops are due to open in July. It is currently legal to possess and grow marijuana for personal use.

In Wareham, voters approved a moratorium on recreational marijuana store at April Town Meeting. The moratorium was recommended by the Planning Board.

Under the draft bylaw, the number of recreational marijuana shops would be limited to two, tied to the number of liquor stores in town. The state recommends limiting pot shops to less than 20 percent of the number of package stores. In Wareham, there are 13 package stores.

The bylaw discussed Jan. 8 would mostly adopt state marijuana guidelines, including rules that limit stores from opening within 500 feet of school. Marijuana stores would be limited to the general commercial, strip commercial and institutional districts. The general commercial district stretches on both sides of Route 28 from the I-195 on-ramp to the area of Robertson’s Auto Salvage. The strip commercial district is located a little ways past Robertson’s Auto Salvage on Route 25 and extends to the Bourne town line. The institutional district is located near Tobey Hospital. Director of Planning and Community Development Kenneth Buckland said he would review the state rules and report back to the board if the town needed to add anything. To take effect, the bylaw requires Town Meeting approval.

Selectman Alan Slavin, the town’s liaison to the Planning Board, said recent news from the federal government added a layer of uncertainty to the proceedings.

Currently, federal law prohibits the sale of cannabis. Under President Barack Obama, federal policy was to not enforce the law in states where cannabis was legalized. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump rescinded that policy, leaving enforcement at the discretion of federal prosecutors.The U.S. attorney in charge of enforcing federal law for Massachusetts has not ruled out prosecuting local growers following the president’s policy change. That sets the stage for a potential conflict between growers in states where marijuana is legal and the federal government.

“This will be in the Supreme Court as it’s a states versus federal government issue,” said Slavin. “It’s all about money.”

Comments (12)
Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jan 09, 2018 07:45

Market forces should be taken into account when locating pot shops. May I suggest the square in Onset center or the Main St  CVS parking lot. These seem to be areas where there is plenty transactions taking place already. This will also provide the least disruption to the stoners.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jan 09, 2018 09:41

What do package stores have to do with marijuana sales ? That's pretty funny.

Quit slagging off what the majority voted for.

Posted by: barnstorm | Jan 11, 2018 11:19

Did you read the language in the law you voted for? The number of liquor licenses determine the number of licenses for the pot shops in each town.


Posted by: cranky pants | Jan 11, 2018 11:26

I did read it in plain English thanks, still did not answer my question though so if you'd be so inclined please share. I don't understand what liquor stores have to do with dispensaries. They could have based it off the number of dunkin donuts...

Posted by: barnstorm | Jan 11, 2018 11:38

The excise tax is set at 10.25% for weed sales in a store. Each town may add 3% to a sale. State tax now is at 6.25%. That means the tax total on each purchase would be 20% on a bag of pot. I can't wait to see what price the retailer will put on an ounce of pot. The law now also states that every home may grow 6 plants or up to 10 ounces of pot. So, where do you think people will go to get their weed? I think it's a no-brainer (pun intended) for those who want to get high for less. And if you need 10 ounces at hand in your household for getting stoned weekly, you need to check yourself into a clinic. This organic gateway drug is addictive. And if you don't believe that, then you've already lost your brain cells.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jan 11, 2018 12:57

Wow, quite the biased opinion there bud. To help straighten your facts you might want to go re-read the law. Just an example of where your wrong is, 6 flowering plants per adult over the  age of 21 with the limit of 12 plants per household. You may keep all yields from the plants and give away up to one ounce.

The tax rate will be roughly $3.50 per gram... You were right there.

Also, gateway drug is bullsh!t... Your doctor's office and your local medicine cabinet are the gateways nowadays. Trying to call marijuana a gateway drug today is kinda funny.

Marijuana isn't just smoked by hippies anymore. While I agree that ten ounces might be a lot have on hand, many people make edibles such as brownies, candies and cookies... Making these items require a bit more weight than your average smoker will burn through. ( pun back to you )

Marijuana has proven medicinal effects for people that live with these current conditions.

· Amyotrphic Lateral Sclerosis ( ALS )

· Cancer

· Crohn's disease

· Glaucoma


· Hepatitis C

· Multiple sclerosis

· Parkinson's disease

· Mental illnesses

It will also allow registered medicinal users to appoint a person to cultivate for them provided they can prove they are unable to get to a dispensary... In which case some dispensaries may opt for delivery services.

I must say I agree with Charlie Baker when he told Lelling to focus on the opioid crisis and leave the marijuana laws alone.

Posted by: totellthetruth | Jan 11, 2018 15:28

Cranky; I'll tell you what liqour stores have to do with pot shops! They are going to be the retail outlets! Can't you see the"writing on the wall" "Liqours and More"-"Wines and More"

Posted by: totellthetruth | Jan 11, 2018 15:29

Why do you think there are so damn many liqour stores in Wareham?

Posted by: cranky pants | Jan 11, 2018 15:37

It's a retail business, I agree there. I still feel like it should have been based off how many coffee shops there are :)

Posted by: kevinc687 | Jan 11, 2018 19:04

put the pot store with a drive through window in line with the new wendys drive through in west wareham. kill two birds with one line

Posted by: barnstorm | Jan 12, 2018 07:52

All the maladies you list are treated with weed, but they only mask the problem, it doesn't cure anything. The high it gives you temporarily tricks your brain. Almost every professional study done today by labs in large universities, doctors, RN's, clinics, and the AMA all agree. Marijuana is a dangerous organic drug laced with THC and 16 other damaging chemicals. It's poison. I smoked that shit for ten  years until I wised up and got away from it. Not a gateway drug? What do you think all the opioid junkies have in common? Yeah, they were all smoking pot until that powerful high wasn't doing it for them any more. Addiction is not a disease, it is a choice and a stupid one.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jan 12, 2018 11:18

I never said marijuana cures anything, then again the powerful opiates that your doctor prescribes you don't cure anything either. I'd much rather be treated for pain or discomfort with marijuana in it's CBD form over trash that these pharmaceutical companies push.

Are you aware that there are stains of marijuana that offer zero psychosis effects ? Do some reading and investigate who Rick Simpson is, check out what RSO is.

You used pot for ten years, so how the hell did you survive and pull through your terrible addiction ?? While we are pissing into the wind, let's ask you a question... Do you drink alcoholic beverages ?

Lighten up bud, pun intended. While you're rolling yourself that doobie, please answer the question of what do pot shops have to do with liquor stores.

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