Medical marijuana, which Massachusetts voters legalized in November, makes two appearances on the agenda for tonight's Attleboro City Council meeting. The separate items, listed under "new business," are written by City Councilors Jay DiLisio and Jonathan Weydt.
DiLisio's measure states:
That the council consider a resolution that would include imposing a six-month moratorium on all medical marijuana treatment centers in Attleboro, in order to afford the appropriate amount of time and study of the intricacies of the new state law.
Weydt's measure states:
That the Municipal Council establish an ordinance to be regulated by special permit with the Municipal Council as the Special Permit Granting Authority relative to the use of marijuana for medical purposes and for medical marijuana dispensaries within the city of Attleboro. Said ordinance ought to be established by the date upon which the Commonwealth's Department of Public Heath publishes its guidelines regarding Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, currently scheduled for April 2013.
A "new business" item, if approved by the council for further review (which they usually are unanimously, even if councilors do not support the measure), is usually assigned to a council committee for discussion and a recommendation (although sometimes with a detour) for the full council.
The state ballot measure calling for the legalization of medical marijuana was approved in November with 63 percent support. The amount of local support was about the same. The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, allows up to 35 medical marijuana dispensaries to open in Massachusetts by the end of 2013. Up to five are allowed in each county.
DiLisio told Attleboro Patch he placed his item on the agenda as a way to get the conversation started about medical marijuana. He had heard from people on both sides of the issue who had questions about how Attleboro would handle a medical marijuana dispensary.
"It is important to me that those who need access to medical marijuana have the appropriate access and at the same time it is important to keep it away from those who may abuse it," DiLisio wrote in an email. "We have an opportunity to be proactive before the law takes effect to navigate the intricacies of the law."
He continued, "A short-term moratorium ensures we have appropriate time to craft an ordinance that looks at the sensitive nature of the subject, while being aware of what the voters of the commonwealth voted for in November."
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall. New business items are usually discussed at the end of council meetings.