marijuana--law and legislation
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.
As towns across the Island begin to discuss the implications of the new state medical marijuana law, the West Tisbury police chief brought the issue before the town selectmen for discussion this week.
Police chief Dan Rossi said he would like to see the town adopt a bylaw that prohibits smoking medical marijuana in public places. The chief asked the selectmen to place an article with the proposed bylaw on the annual town meeting warrant in April.
As the Massachusetts Department of Public Health scrambles to write regulations for the medical marijuana law that went into effect Jan. 1, towns are preparing for their own kind of scramble amid the prospect of medical marijuana dispensaries in counties across the state. They don’t have long, Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force coordinator Theresa Manning warned the Dukes County commission this week.
With Massachusetts voters being asked in November to decide whether to legalize medical marijuana, the Dukes County Youth Task Force has come out against the proposal, saying it would exacerbate existing marijuana use by Island teens.
“The Youth Task Force feels committed to opposing ballot question three, primarily based on the fact we don’t want there be more access for kids for marijuana,” task force coordinator Theresa Manning told the Gazette.
A Chilmark summer employee was arraigned in Edgartown district court Thursday after allegedly having a package of marijuana mailed to the harbor master’s Menemsha office.
Emmett L. Ross, 19, was arraigned on August 21 charges in Chilmark of a drug violation near a school or park, possessing to distribute class D drug (marijuana) and larceny less than $250.
Less than a month after a new state law went into effect decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, law enforcement leaders, both on Vineyard and around the commonwealth, are crying foul.
And already legislation has been proposed to toughen the statute.