Canton approved a two-year moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries at the first night of Town Meeting Monday.
Article 12 asked the town to approve a one-year moratorium. The article was amended on a recommendation by the Finance Committee that the moratorium be upped to two years.
“Specifically the biggest change with this is now there are two sections to express the moratorium. One section brings it to 2014 and the next section brings it to 2015,” said Finance Committee chair Mark Porter. “So by going with the two-year moratorium it gives us more time to fully understand the impacts, to let other towns make mistakes and learn from those mistakes and to make sure whatever zoning we put in is going to be adequate.”
The amended article leaves open the provision for the second year to be rescinded at the next Town Meeting if the town chooses to do so.
It will also allow them to strike the language of the article regarding the second year if the Attorney General does not agree to a moratorium that long, leaving the one-year moratorium in place.
Canton Board of Selectmen chair Robert Burr said, “This is more of an issue of timing, rather than a matter of if. Medical marijuana has passed in the state, we recognize that and we want to make sure that time is given appropriately to digest the regulations and deal with the zoning across the town.”
The Town Meeting members voted accept the amendment and then voted to approve the article. Both votes were unanimous.
If approved by the Attorney General the moratorium will be effective until June 30, 2015.