After considerable debate, Oak Bluffs voters approved a bylaw regulating the location of medical marijuana dispensaries at a special town meeting Tuesday night. With the vote, three sites in town will now be included in a medical marijuana overlay district and opened to special permitting.
Nearly a year after Massachusetts voters agreed to legalize medical marijuana, Vineyard towns and marijuana dispensary applicants are navigating the regulatory process, mostly focusing on where dispensaries should be located on the Island.
Aquinnah voters approved a hefty hike in the town operating budget for the coming year and backed a spending package to help restore and ready the Gay Head Light for moving at their annual town meeting Tuesday, but balked at a town bylaw to ban public consumption of marijuana.
“Isn’t there a no smoking law in any public place?” said Juli Vanderhoop, who questioned the need for the bylaw. “Smoke is smoke.”
Oak Bluffs voters came out in favor of making the annual shark tournament catch- and-release only, narrowly turned down a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and approved extensive repairs for town roads at a lengthy annual town meeting Tuesday.
Oak Bluffs voters came out in favor of making the annual shark tournament catch and release only, and narrowly turned down a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries at a lengthy annual town meeting Tuesday.
The town moved quickly through some items, quickly approving a $25.5 million operating budget and a host of community preservation act projects. Voters also easily approved more than $900,000 for repairing about two dozen town roads that are listed in poor, incomplete or failed condition. The project still needs approval from voters at Thursday’s town election.
Medical marijuana dispensaries could become a reality in Oak Bluffs and Tisbury after an effort to place a one-year moratorium on the dispensaries failed to win the backing of voters on Tuesday night. And the countywide pest control program is also in a state of uncertainty after voters in West Tisbury turned down their share of funding for the program.
Medical marijuana questions were on the warrants for three of four town meetings held Tuesday night. The outcome was slightly different in each town.
As Vineyard towns convene for annual town meetings this spring, most will be grappling with new bylaws in the face of a state law legalizing medical marijuana.
With ongoing discussion about Islandwide coordination over how to address the new law, five of the six Vineyard towns will vote this spring on whether to adopt bylaws prohibiting public marijuana consumption and imposing a one-year moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in all zoning districts. The moratorium is meant to give towns time to come up with their own regulations before marijuana dispensaries can open.
Oak Bluffs selectmen Tuesday agreed to pursue a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries, giving the town time until regulations are handed down by the state Department of Public Health and Island towns can work together to decide how to handle the issue.
The selectmen agreed to have town administrator Robert Whritenour draft town meeting articles calling for a moratorium and a public consumption bylaw, which the selectmen will look at during their next meeting on Feb. 26.