Mayor Richard Alcombright, top right, asked the Board of Health on Wednesday to consider medical marijuana regulations. The board will render an opinion on medical marijuana in the next few months.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Richard Alcombright wants the city to weed through new medical marijuana regulations before clinics start arriving.
Alcombright asked the Board of Health on Wednesday to start considering the issues and weigh in on it.
He isn't sure what he would like to present to the City Council, he said: Either a moratorium or a set of regulations.
In the next few months, the board will review the issues and present an opinion to the mayor.
"If we don't have something in place and we allow it to happen, it is just going to hit us and we're not going to know what to do," Alcombright told the board. "Based on what you say, I will decide which direction I want to take with the council."
Many towns are looking to craft regulations to control the clinics since voters legalized medical marijuana by ballot initiative last year. The state Department of Public Health has issued a regulations for controlling clinics and dispensaries.
Alcombright said he was on the losing end of the vote. He did not want medical marijuana in the state because he read about abuses in the program in other states and believes it a public safety hazard. He said the city already sees prescription abuse and fears medical-grade marijuana will drop the price on street purchases and make it more accessible to children. That, said the mayor, will lead to children thinking the drug is OK.
"The other side is that we have people in pain who can actually use this stuff," Alcombright said.
Alcombright said he read through the state's regulations and is confident with the controls they put in place.
"There are very onerous things they have to go through," Alcombright said of the regulations on prospective clinics. "It is very heavily controlled."
Thus "being on the fence" with the issue, he hopes the Board of Health and Inspection Services can provide additional insight.
In other business, Health Director James O'Brien reported that he recently investigated four trash complaints and three housing complaints:
A trash cleanup on North Street is ongoing but yielding little results.
Trash from of a Prospect Street building was supposed to be removed by Aug. 19 but O'Brien will again address the homeowner.
A second complaint of overflowing trash at a property on Pleasant Street led to a final warning to the homeowner before fines.
The city is positioning to place a "lien and clean" on a State Road home because the homeowner has been hiding trash under a tarp and does not have the means to remove it.
A Marshall Street homeowner was given a violation notice after a leaky roof caused severe water damage to the top floors.
Two State Road tenants complained of violations and O'Brien found four "minor violations" upon inspection and will be issuing a violation notice.
An E Street home will be issued a condemnation because of "deplorable" conditions. The building could end up being demolished, O'Brien said.