Pubdate: Tue, 07 May 2013
Source: Taunton Daily Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2013 Taunton Daily Gazette
Author: Neal Simpson


NORWELL - Voters quietly approved zoning changes Monday night that 
will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to open in Norwell's 
industrial parks, making the town one of the first communities in the 
state to accept the newly legal operations.

A few residents yelled out "no" when the vote was called at Norwell's 
town meeting Monday night, but no one spoke to object and only one 
resident asked a question. The measures had the support of several 
town boards, including the board of selectmen.

"As other towns are passing the buck, Norwell knows where (the 
dispensaries) should be located and is ready to move forward," said 
Margaret Etzel, chairman of the town's planning board.

The vote sets Norwell apart from the many Massachusetts cities and 
towns that have adopted temporary bans on medical marijuana 
dispensaries, saying they need time to draft local regulations. The 
nonprofit dispensaries, which were legalized by voters last November, 
will be responsible for growing, processing and selling marijuana to 
qualified patients who have received a doctor's recommendation.

One-year moratoria have been adopted in Cohasset, Hanover, 
Marshfield, Pembroke, Rockland, Quincy, Scituate and Weymouth.

The zoning rules adopted in Norwell would require dispensaries to 
seek a three-year special permit from the town's zoning board and 
limit them to a business district that includes Accord Executive 
Business Park and Assinippi Industrial Park. They would also be 
prohibited from locating within 500 feet of a home, school or day care center.

Etzel said Monday that the town had not yet received an application 
from anyone looking to open a dispensary.
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