A vote for the zoning of medical marijuana dispensaries in Andover went through at Town Meeting on Monday, May 13.
The medical marijuana law passed last year in Massachusetts, and now towns are required by law to allow a Registered Marijuana Dispensary, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley.
At town meeting the warrant articles dealt with where the dispensary could be placed in town. The location ultimately chosen was an industrial park near River Street. These articles are simply regulations for where a dispensary could be placed but do not guarantee that one will be made here.
The town was divided, with a number of citizens expressing concerns over the proximity of the possible dispensaries to school buildings. “Just because we voted for [it] doesn’t mean we want it here,” said Nancy Daly, of Hearthstone Place. She expressed concerns that were similar to those of many other attendees.
Chaz Meling, of River Road, questioned whether these zoning laws “stigmatized” people who use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The argument put forth by Paul Mazeratto, who helped create these articles, was that because we are required to allow a Registered Marijuana Dispensary to exist in town we should be zoning to minimize the impact on schools, neighboring properties, and the historic districts in town.
Many of the attendees were concerned about having the dispensaries close to residential neighborhoods or places where children congregate.
By Daniel O’Leary