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Medical Marijuana's Future in Wilmington Unclear

With towns like Reading already voting to ban marijuana dispensaries, Town Manager Jeff Hull said Wilmington is already looking into whether voters will be asked to do the same.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are coming to Massachusetts. Whether they’re coming to Wilmington remains to be seen.

After the ballot question legalizing medical marijuana passed in Massachusetts with 63 percent voter support earlier this month, towns are scrambling to find out just what impact the law will have at a local level.

Just over the Wilmington border in Reading, voters have already spoken. At Town Meeting last week, Reading residents voted by a 113-39 margin to approve a zoning article that would prohibit a medical marijuana dispensary from opening in town.

Wilmington Town Manager Jeff Hull said town officials are at the beginning stages of researching whether or not voters could be asked to make a similar decision at this spring’s Town Meeting.

“It’s on our radar screen,” said Hull. “It’s certainly possible that it’s something that could come up at Town Meeting, but we haven’t fully looked into it yet.”

Hull has asked Planning Director Carole Hamilton to look into the zoning issues related to the subject, and see what the town’s options are. The Town Manager said local officials are still waiting to see what regulations the state will provide before proceeding either way.

In Reading, proponents of banning marijuana facilities argued that the possession, distribution and cultivation of marijuana violate federal law, and said that a treatment center would draw transient traffic and become a target for robbery.

The impact a facility would have on the Wilmington Police Department is something Hull said still needs to be determined.

“The potential negative of having a facility in town would be the possibility of abuse,” said Hull. “The positives, I guess there is the prospect that there are individuals who may need it for medical purposes. I am a little skeptical quite honestly, but there is still more information that we need to gather.”

Hull said the town will research the topic for the next several months, and will address it at Town Meeting if needed.

“It’s just going to take some time to find out what regulations the state puts out that will accompany the law. That’ll set the parameter for how we operate,” said Hull. “It’s going to be a matter of assessing the impacts of enforcement and trying to reach some kind of place where we’re following the law as it was voted, but maintaining control that we need to have on the dispensing areas. It’s not insurmountable, but it’ll take time to assess.”

Stacie November 21, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Drug Stores can't handle this because it's considered ILLEGAL under the Federal Law....
Joey Ismail November 23, 2012 at 12:33 AM
The people have spoken, period.
Joe Veno November 24, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Let me say up front I am opposed to selling it in any of our towns. North Reading, Reading or Wilmington. Paul you bring up a good point and that is the reason you never want you town to change to a Represenative type of town meeting. In North Reading and in Wilmington we all will get the chance to go to town meeting to vote for or aginst this issue unlike Reading.
Daniel Walter November 25, 2012 at 10:24 PM
It's more natural than cigaettes and alcohol and has a death rate of zero compared to cigarettes with 443,000 deaths annually as cited by the CDC and alcohol with 2,500,000 related deaths annually as cited by WHO. It also has more medicinal benefits as well as non-THC using benefits. It is such a useful and versatile plant, that it's assenine to outlaw it. The government once required people to grow it. Until it became bigger than paper. Then big paper business lobbied to have it outlawed, and won. The legallity of marijuana is completely related to capitalism. Even religion is cited as being the cause of more mortalities than marijuana in mankind's entire history. So do we ban and outlaw cigarettes, alcohol, and religion too? Do convienent stores and liquor stores not get robbed? Any business holding capital or stock is open to robbery. I mean, the plant cures cancer now. Do you need more proof than that? I live in Wilmington and fully support this stuff.
Karl Ian Sagal November 28, 2012 at 01:33 AM
I wonder at your statistics. How can you know of a death rate of zero? Was there never, ever, an under the influence car accident? I am sure there are no drug cartels anywhere who have killed anyone regarding pot. Pot is an intoxicant. I love those who quote 'facts' that are so absolute. I do not smoke pot, have no intention of smoking pot, and am pretty sure it does not cure cancer. I also voted to legalize it. I also feel it is silly to have cigarettes and liquor legal, and pot illegal. People need to be treated as adults (when they are, no pot for kids) and be held accountable for their actions. If they smoke pot and drive, they should suffer the consequenses just as if they were under any other inappropriate influence. It is still illegal federally however, so legitimate businesses cannot sell it, so drug stores are out of the question. Hospitals too are at risk of loosing federal funding so are not likely to sell it either. I love how it is illegal to smoke a cigarette in a restaurant, but now the 'people' have voted that it will be legal to smoke a joint there. After all, a lawsuit will arrise from anyone that is denied their 'medicine'. By the way, I do not smoke cigarettes either. I voted for it not because I feel it is a good thing to have, but because I know the other restrictions on the way people live are silly, and they too should be abolished.

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