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Mendon Musings

Now that Mendon's voters have –

for the second time, since the first

wasn't done right – decided to enact

a moratorium on marijuana-related

businesses until the end of December, the crunch time is on for the town to come up with exactly what it wants to do.

Since the moratorium enacted at this month's Annual Town Meeting runs out at the end of the calendar year, it makes sense that town regulations should be ready to be voted upon at November's Special Town Meeting. Before that, however, the Planning Board would have to hold its legally required public hearing on whatever rules the town draws up.

Which means we're talking about a proposed Zoning By-law amendment being ready sometime in October – roughly five months from now. Given the summer vacation periods lies within that timeframe, that's really not a lot of time.

Mendon voted 52.2 percent "Yes" and 47.8 percent "No" in favor of the November, 2016 ballot question that legalized the sale of marijuana in Massachusetts. Since then, the state legislature last summer re-tooled the original ballot legislation and, earlier this year, the state Cannabis Control Commission issued its regulations for how the sales will be handled.

What's left is for the town to designate where – or where not – it wants marijuana-related businesses (cultivators, testing facilities, product manufacturers, retailers, etc.) to be located.

Mendon could very well adopt a ban like Milford did. For that, you need a Town Meeting vote and

a ballot vote. Both could theoretically happen in November, since there is a state election this fall.

Or, Mendon could decide to allow some type

of marijuana-related business in some locations. Depending on what's allowed, that could mean a "community host agreement" with annual payments to the town to offset the theoretical increased public safety costs. Milford, for example, will be getting $250,000 a year for five years from the Sira Naturals cultivation facility located there.

The important thing in drawing up regulations is not to have the same type of knee-jerk reaction that gave us the strip club legal fiasco. Instead, we need to look carefully at what makes sense for the majority of people in town.

The Board of Selectmen tried to learn public opinion by holding a public forum on the topic. Unfortunately, practically no one attended.

If you want your opinion to be known, please contact the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board.

While I was initially opposed to the idea of retail marijuana sales in Mendon, I've modified my view somewhat since the Cannabis Control Commission came out with its regulations – especially limiting the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can be in a retail product and requiring product testing. And, I'm totally in favor of making medical marijuana available for patients who need it.

Since we already allow the sales of alcohol and tobacco, should we allow another now-legal drug as well? Time will tell.


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