July 14 2015

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applies for Burlington Location

By: Rich Hosford

A medical marijuana venture is eyeing Burlington as a possible location for a dispensary. 


Burlington Town Administrator John Petrin told the Board of Selectmen on Monday night that Mission Massachusetts, a collaboration of four groups out of Worcester, has filed an application to set up a distribution point in town. 


Petrin said the venture has not named a specific location in town or a planned timeframe for the project as of yet. 


Members of the board asked what response the town can make to the proposed distribution site and were told the options were limited. 


“Medical marijuana is a fact here in Massachusetts as approved by the citizens two years ago now,” Petrin said. “It was also approved by the residents of this town.”


He said the state determines whether a Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) is valid and whether it meets the requirements to open. The Board of Selectmen can choose to write a letter of support, a letter of non-committal or take no action at all. 


 “You’ll notice that one of the options is not ‘non-support,’” Petrin said. “Under the law the company has permission to do it. We can’t say ‘no’, but the state will look at whatever information we can provide.” 


There are some restrictions for a dispensary coming into Burlington. Last year Town Meeting voted to approve a zoning bylaw article that set limitations on where an RMD can open. First they can only be located in industrial zones. Further, they cannot be within 500 feet of a religious institution or within 1,000 feet of a place where children commonly congregate (schools, daycares, playgrounds, etc.) and they cannot be in a parcel that abuts a residential zone. Also, any subsequent RMD that applies to come into town cannot be within 1,000 feet of an existing one. 


Chair of the Board of Selectmen Mike Runyan said he expects that more RMDs will seek to come to town. 


“Burlington will catch a lot of people’s eye,” he said, noting that a wide variety of businesses are also looking to set up shop in town. “I would anticipate more applicants.”


Runyan also said a task force will be set up with selectmen and members of the Board of Health and Planning Board to look into the potential impact on the town medical marijuana dispensaries could have. 

 
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