Ever since the voters of Massachusetts elected to approve statewide medical marijuana two years ago, the state has asked cities and towns in the Commonwealth to put together ordinances that will control it inside their boundaries.
"All the municipalities have to come up with an ordinance to deal with this," West Springfield Town Councilor George Condon said.
Monday night was West Springfield's time to take steps to follow those guidelines.
"We've taken one of the recommended ordinances from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and made a few changes to it to meet our city's needs," Condon said.
The Planning Board submitted a petition for a zoning ordinance amendment, which could allow medical marijuana facilities in the Business B zoning district by special permit and in the Industrial zoning district, by site plan review.
Condon said legally, West Springfield officials cannot prevent medical marijuana from entering the town, but they will be able to control where it goes.
"In our particular case we're trying to put in a 500-foot buffer zone into certain areas such as schools, daycares, churches and places where children might congregate," Condon explained.
However he said the ordinance will not interfere with those who are prescribed the drug.
"And yet still accommodate the state law," Condon said.
West Springfield's medical-marijuana ordinance is still in the works.
The council said they'd like to receive public input as the draft continues to be developed.
"We're actually still waiting for one section of the language to be written. It's a small section. I'm guessing we won't be voting on it at this point until September," Condon said.
A public hearing will be held in the council chambers at Town Hall on Aug. 18.
The Planning Board's plan on medical marijuana can be viewed at the Planning Department Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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