Recreational Marijuana Establishments: FAQ

[Printable PDF of FAQ]

Please note: This is a summary of some of the elements related to the Planning Board’s upcoming work to propose Town regulations for Recreational Marijuana Establishments. It does not include all topics — the state already has and will have more regulations — and this summary is not legally binding in any way. For more info, contact Gwen Miller, Town Planner and Land Use Director, at (413) 637-5500 ext. 1203.

  1. When will Lenox  begin regulating Recreational Marijuana Establishments?

    • Town bylaws related to Recreational Marijuana Establishments can be put into the Zoning Bylaws by the Planning Board or into the General Town Bylaws by the Select Board. Assuming that in Lenox, the Planning Board will take the lead on this issue, here are dates to be aware of as we proceed through this process:
      • Dec. 18, 2018 — Right now, Lenox has a moratorium through Dec. 18, 2018 to prohibit Recreational Marijuana Establishments. Note, throughout this document, we will call them “Recreational Marijuana Establishments” because there are four distinct kinds.
      • Nov. 2, 2017 — In September 2017, the Planning Board decided not to propose any regulations at the Nov. 2, 2017 Special Town Meeting and Nov. general election. The discussion included the option of proposing an outright prohibition. The Planning Board agreed unanimously that the best course would be to wait until the state’s guidelines are issued in mid-March and then to proceed.
        Actions the Select Board may take on its own: If the Select Board — or a citizen or citizens — wish to propose a moratorium at this date, there are mechanisms to do to.
      • Jan-Feb 2018 — The Planning Board plans to hold one or two informational sessions about the topic so that citizens can learn more. There will also be a required Public Hearing in advance of putting any articles on the warrant for a Town Meeting.
      • March 15, 2018 — The state’s Cannabis Control Commission must issue recreational marijuana establishment regulations by this date. As soon as they do, the Planning Board will have all the details we need to consider regulations (in the form of zoning bylaws).
      • May 3, 2018 — We might be able to have proposed regulations ready for citizen voting at the May 3 Annual Town Meeting and subsequent general election — but timing would be very tight given that we will not have the state’s regulations in hand until March 15.
      • November 2018 — If we can’t make the May deadline, we will be looking at November 2018 for Town Meeting and general election votes. This will still be “in time” — remember, we have a moratorium in place through Dec. 18, 2018.
      • Note: Without the moratorium, or without local zoning regulations in place after the moratorium expires, a Recreational Marijuana Establishment could open anywhere related retail, manufacturing, testing and cultivation facilities are allowed.
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  2. How will the regulation process work?

    • Because Lenox voters voted “yes” on the state ballot’s recreational marijuana Question 4 a few years ago (51.2%), we must  go through a two-step process to impose any limits beyond state requirements.
      1. First, we must vote at Town Meeting on any proposed limits (bylaws). Bylaw votes at Town Meeting require a 2/3 majority.
      2. Second, we also must have a ballot issue on the same limits. Ballots require a simple majority. Note: We must get on the ballot 35 days before general election.
      3. If either of these votes fail, the basic state requirements will guide recreational marijuana in Lenox after the moratorium ends or until we successfully pass limits through the same two-step process in the future.
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  3. What kind of establishments are included in the state’s law and could come to Lenox?

    • There are four distinct types of Recreational Marijuana Establishments that we can potentially regulate:
      1. Marijuana retail stores
      2. Marijuana manufacturing facilities
      3. Marijuana testing facilities
      4. Marijuana cultivation facilities
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  4. What aspects of recreational  Marijuana Establishments can we limit / regulate?

    • Towns can:
      • Prohibit the operation of one or more types of Marijuana Establishments.
      • Limit the locations to certain districts.
      • Limit the number of marijuana retailers to less than 20% of the number of package store licenses we have issued.
      • Limit the number of Marijuana Establishments to fewer than the number of medical marijuana treatment centers registered to engage in the same type of activities.
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  5. What about letting people consume recreational marijuana in stores or cafes?

    • This may be permitted but will require a majority local vote at a biennial state election. The earliest this would be possible is Nov. 2018.
    • The ballot question would require a petition of 10% of votes in the the town.
    • The Select Board cannot put it on the ballot.
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  6. How about Medical Marijuana?

    • Lenox already has a bylaw in place to regulate Medical Marijuana Establishments.
    • We may not prohibit Medical Marijuana Establishments, but we can impose limits, which is what we did with our bylaw.
    • Medical Marijuana Establishments can be converted into recreational Marijuana Establishments as long as they meet the limits we have imposed on recreational marijuana.
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  7. Can I grow and use marijuana in my own home — what about all the other details of the law?

More information:

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