By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – At the request of Selectman Dennis Flynn, on May 3 the Grafton Board of Selectmen again addressed the ongoing issue of licensing marijuana dispensaries and growing facilities in the town. Flynn noted that teen use in Colorado has increased 20 percent since marijuana was legalized there and that, according to recent research, regular use of marijuana is linked to lowered intelligence and poor school and work performance. He concluded by stating that with the advent of legal marijuana – to be smoked and eaten – its variable potency was especially troubling.
At their April 19 meeting, the dispute over the approval of the marijuana dispensary on Grafton Street near Hollywood Drive had been expanded to include a new application, this one for Nature’s Remedy, a marijuana-growing facility. This followed the initial letter of non-opposition for Sage Cannabis’ dispensary near Hollywood Drive which generated much push-back from angry voters.
James Gallagher and Mark Johnson addressed the selectmen regarding this issue May 3. In concert with the board’s discussion, they agreed that the board must do a better job in calming voters’ concerns, especially regarding where such facilities can be located and a process to deal with such siting requests. One thought was that the Special Permit process might suffice with the selectmen presiding over such a hearing. Under this proposal, the business would make its presentation and then the voters would have their say. Abutters would be notified of any such hearing at the town’s expense.
In a bit of news that had not before been known by the selectmen, Johnson informed them that in fact a letter of opposition or lack of a letter of non-opposition would indeed stop the state from continuing to approve any marijuana clinic or growing facility.
“It matters,” he said.
Further, a host agreement is also something the state looks for when considering a marijuana license. Johnson asked the board if a possible zoning bylaw change passes at Town Meeting, what group would be responsible for future clinic and growing approvals. To this Chair Craig Dauphinais said it would probably be the selectmen.
The board agreed that further work needs to be done on this issue. An article on the warrant for the May 9 Town Meeting deals with a proposed bylaw regulating marijuana clinics and farms in Grafton.
The Sage Cannabis facility at 206 Grafton St. has been unusually quiet, with no visible work being done to create a dispensary.