The Halifax Board of Selectmen will sponsor a public forum on Tuesday, February 12 at 8pm at the Halifax Town Hall to allow town officials and residents to make comments about the issue of medical marijuana dispensaries in Halifax. Because of the passage of the state referendum on the subject, each community in Massachusetts will need to decide whether to allow, via zoning, dispensaries to locate in that community. Currently, four basic options exist:
1) A permanent moratorium which would not allow dispensaries in Halifax.
2) A temporary moratorium which would not allow them for a certain period of time. That would allow the Town to review the regulations that will be developed by the Department of Public Health and announced on May 1, 2013 and make another decision in the future based on those regulations.
3) Zoning that would restrict the dispensaries to certain locations in Halifax with stipulations attached to any special permit that was approved.
4) No change in the zoning. Under the current zoning, a dispensary would be considered a "retail store" and therefore allowed in the business/commercial district without a special permit and in the industrial zone with a special permit.
Because the Halifax Annual Town Meeting is May 13, 2013 and the regulations will be announced on May 1, 2013, there may be a window of opportunity for establishments to apply for the necessary permits between those two dates. If a change in the by-law, to go into effect before May 1, is desired by the residents, then a special town meeting would have to held before May 1 and a decision made at that meeting whether to change the by-law.
Before deciding whether to hold a special town meeting and drawing up the necessary articles, the Board of Selectmen wanted to hear from those interested in this issue and scheduled the forum for this purpose. Anyone will be able to speak at the forum and if someone is not able to attend, that person can provide comments to the Board in advance of the forum. For further information, please contact the Town Administrator, Charlie Seelig, at 781-294-1316.