ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board made some final changes to a draft licensed marijuana establishment bylaw that will be reviewed at a public hearing in December.
After buttoning up some last-minute changes in the bylaw Monday, the planners agreed to go to public hearing with a new bylaw that would allow a retail facility in the downtown but only with a special permit.
"Let's hold a hearing ASAP," Chairman David Rhinemiller said. "Maybe we can get it all done before the end of the year."
Over the past few months, the Planning Board has been crafting a bylaw that would oversee both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana dispensaries, grow facilities and other marijuana establishments. The board's chief concern was where the facility would be allowed.
According to the bylaw, retailers can only locate in the downtown, or B-2 district, if they receive a special permit from the Planning Board but can't be located closer than 250 feet from schools, day-care centers or other areas where minors commonly congregate and are the population primarily served by the facility.
Originally some members wanted to keep the state's buffer zone of 500 feet, however this would lock all possible retailers out of the downtown. The Planning Board brought the distance down to 300 feet but ultimately compromised at 250 feet.
The board members agreed that all establishments, including retailers and cultivators, are allowed in the Industrial Park by right. Although, the Planning Board made a last-minute change and felt that independent testing Laboratories should require a special permit to locate in the park.
The board also made some tweaks to hours of operation and agreed to allow Sunday operation.
"I was in favor of Sunday hours," board member Barbara Ziemba said. "Why not? Drug stores are open. I see no problems."
The planners agreed that hours would be set by them as part of the site plan approval. The board also agreed to the addition of a policy that would have the police chief inspect the property and make sure all security measures have been installed as agreed to in the plan.
The board agreed to pass on a policy that would limit the number of retailers.
"It makes it a monopoly and in a small town we certainly don't want five," Ziemba said. "One is bad and two is better."
Building Commissioner Don Torrico asked before closing the meeting that some sort of bond be added to the bylaw so that if the establishment owner leaves the property, there are funds for possible clean up if need be.
"I am not sure about what chemicals are involved in the process, but we could end up with tenants in there after they pack up an go," he said.