The Edgartown selectmen endorsed plans Monday to regulate medicinal marijuana, voting to place articles on the April special town meeting warrant that would regulate public consumption of the drug and establish a temporary moratorium on setting up dispensaries.
The selectmen approved asking town meeting to vote on the zoning amendment, which would ban smoking, ingesting or otherwise using the drug in public areas including beaches, boat landings, sidewalks and any area owned by the town. The ban extends to any bus “or other passenger conveyance operated by a common carrier.”
The fine for violating the bylaw would be $300 per offense, in addition to any civil penalty.
The town will also vote on a one-year moratorium for medical marijuana in all zoning districts to allow the town adequate time to consider whether and how to allow medical marijuana facilities, and allow the state to issue regulations. The state Department of Public Health has not yet finalized guidelines for how the use of medical marijuana, which was approved at the polls last fall, will be regulated.
“A time-limited restriction, or moratorium, on the establishment of these facilities in Edgartown will provide the opportunity to the town to study and consider the impact they will have on adjacent uses and on the general public health, safety and welfare, and to develop zoning and other applicable bylaws or regulations to address these considerations, consistent with statewide regulations and permitting procedures,” the bylaw states.
The moratorium is designed to be effective for one year beginning April 9, 2013, or until the town adopts superseding zoning amendments for medical marijuana treatment centers.
The moratorium needs to be adopted by a two-thirds vote.
Island towns have grappled with the issue over the last month, with planning boards, police departments, boards of selectmen and departments of public health looking at how to regulate where dispensaries are located. Each county is required to have one dispensary but not more than five. There have been several calls for Island towns to work together to regulate the issue, and the topic is up for discussion at next month’s All-Island selectmen’s meeting.
In other business, the selectmen approved a new request for proposals for the sale of the Warren House, a town-owned property on North Water street. The town has been trying to sell the circa-1690 house since last fall.
The new request for proposal, outlined to selectmen by town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport, will not have a minimum bid, and will permit people to make offers with contingencies regarding financing and permits.
The most recent version also allows brokers to earn a 3 per cent commission for facilitating the sale.
The town purchased the house, which is more than 300 years old, for $3.5 million in 2004 with plans to expand the Edgartown Public Library located next door. But the expansion plans proved unfeasible, and the mansion, now in disrepair, was listed for sale in September of last year, with minimum bids of $2.5 million.
The town did not receive any bids by the end of November.
The new request for proposal will be listed in the central registry until June.