Building will be constructed next to 101 University Drive just north of CVS and Post Office
For the second meeting in a row the Amherst Select Board has pot on their plate.
Last week it was blowing off Extravaganja on the Town Common and this week it's being more receptive to a medical marijuana facility that hopes to locate at 85 University Drive.
The Select Board is being asked to provide a letter of support or non opposition which curiously enough the state weighs exactly the same. Giving politicians a little bit of cover since they can allow the project to move forward but at the same time are not portrayed as supporters.
And since the Select Board took great pains last week to say they have no problem with the (First Amendment protected) "message" of Extravaganja pot rally -- only its large size -- to now turn down a medical marijuana facility might look a tad hypocritical.
The town wisely approved a Planning Board zoning tweak (Article 13), which requires a two-thirds vote of Town Meeting, back in November of 2013 which of course was a response to the medical marijuana referendum passing on a state level the year before.
Interestingly if the town had not passed Article 13 the rules would default to a state statute which requires 500 feet distance from a pharmacy or anyplace children congregate. And the CVS, with a licensed pharmacy, would easily fall with that 500 foot range. Article 13 only requires a 300 foot buffer.
Once the Select Board approves their letter of non opposition MassMedicum still needs to acquire a Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals, and that requires a unanimous vote off all three members.
Of course you have to wonder what will become of these highly regulated medical marijuana facilities should the recreational use of pot pass muster this coming November.
Will the state set up a different category of license for recreational providers? They would then have a greater market which could bring down prices so consumers with medical needs will start shopping there as well.