Pubdate: Mon, 10 Dec 2012
Source: Taunton Daily Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2012 Taunton Daily Gazette
Author: Charles Winokoor


TAUNTON - The City Council wants to make sure downtown Taunton 
doesn't become known as a legal pot zone.

Three years after a methadone clinic opened at 66 Main St. despite an 
outcry from local elected officials, the City Council is taking steps 
to block the possibility of a medical marijuana clinic from following suit.

The council voted Nov. 27 for city planning/zoning/conservation 
director Kevin Scanlon to provide information for ways to restrict 
medical marijuana treatment centers in the city.

Scanlon's letter to the council, in anticipation of their Tuesday, 
Dec. 11 meeting, recommends adding a section confining any potential 
treatment center to an industrial-zoned district.

It would designate the medical pot dispensary as a "prohibited use" 
SP2, meaning that a special permit must be attained from the council.

Scanlon also recommends the council adopt as an ordinance addition an 
official definition of a medical marijuana treatment center.

Last month, voters in the state overwhelmingly approved Question 3, a 
measure legalizing the use of medical marijuana.

The non-profit centers, starting Jan. 1, 2013, would be allowed to 
dispense and grow marijuana.

City Councilor Alan Medeiros says he and his colleague Donald Cleary 
came up with the idea to restrict zoning opportunities for marijuana 
centers in the city.

"It's obvious it doesn't belong downtown," said Medeiros, who is a 
lawyer. "We wanted to try to be proactive."

Council president Ryan Colton, also an attorney, said adopting the 
ordinance changes will provide "a little more control" than the city 
otherwise would have.

The new state law, Colton concedes, is part and parcel of "the 
reality of living in the commonwealth of Massachusetts."

But he also said he's concerned that allowing a pot center to conduct 
business downtown will only make it more difficult to revitalize the 
central business district.

Colton did, however, say he's willing to hear both sides of the argument.

"I think it would be proper to proceed with caution," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom