To better educate itself on issues regarding recreational and medical marijuana companies that may set up shop in Bourne, the town’s cannabis working group has chosen to venture outside the town borders and visit pot operations in neighboring communities.
At its meeting on Wednesday, May 16, group members agreed that it would be helpful to visit established marijuana companies that feature everything from retail sales to cultivation to manufacturing. The group felt that members should become knowledgeable on all issues relative to the blossoming industry, including potential odor pollution from cannabis cultivation operations. Toward that end, the group decided to pursue a site visit to Triple M in Plymouth.
Triple M, also known as M3 Ventures Inc., operates dispensaries in both Plymouth and Mashpee. The company grows its product in a state-of-the-art facility at its Plymouth establishment which features both medical and recreational marijuana. The Mashpee dispensary only sells medical marijuana. However, they have indicated a desire to expand that operation to include adult use, recreational marijuana retail sales.
Assistant Town Administrator Glenn D. Cannon said he would reach out to the owners of Triple M to try and schedule a visit for Wednesday, May 23.
The cannabis working group has been tasked with gathering information on issues pertinent to the introduction of recreational marijuana in Bourne. Some of those issues include taxation, zoning, public safety and public health. Exactly what the group’s defined mission should be drew a fair amount of discussion during Wednesday night’s meeting.
Gray Gables resident Richard W. Conron, one of the group’s at-large members along with Dominique Rapoza of Buzzards Bay, said that defining the group’s mission statement was important as well as specifying what the group will ultimately present to the various governing groups, such as the board of selectmen, the planning board and the board of health. He added that the group should devise a specific application process, to guide prospective marijuana retailers through the regulatory boards from which they need to secure approvals.
Mr. Conron also suggested that a deadline be set for when information compiled by the working group should be ready to be passed on to governing bodies in town, such as the board of selectmen and the planning board. Members said that Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino had already targeted July 24, so that enough time could be given to hold public hearings ahead of Special Town Meeting in October.
The working group also decided to hold a review session the same day of its visit to Triple M to discuss its findings. Members agreed to hold the meeting next Wednesday even if the site visit does not work out for that day, given the amount of work they are faced with in a limited amount of time.
Several times during Wednesday’s meeting, members of the group steered the discussion toward what decisions should be made regarding such issues as zoning, the number of establishments to be allowed, and where marijuana businesses could set up shop. On each occasion, member Stanley D. Andrews reminded the group that decision-making is not their responsibility. Such decisions are up to other governing boards in town. The working group is simply gathering information to be disseminated to those boards, he said.
“We’re a funnel to take all this information in and send it out to the different groups that need that information,” he said.
At Special Town Meeting on March 26, residents turned thumbs-down on two articles relative to recreational marijuana. Article 1 sought an amendment to the town’s zoning bylaws to ban recreational marijuana sales in all of the town’s zoning districts. Article 2 sought to amend the town’s general bylaws to prohibit recreational marijuana sales in Bourne.
A moratorium on retail sales of marijuana in Bourne remains in effect until November 30. The intent is for the working group to compile information that will help with the drafting of a series of articles, relative to recreational marijuana use in Bourne that will be presented for resident approval at Special Town Meeting in October.
Also this week, the working group appointed its officers. Ms. Rapoza was named chairman. Finance committee member Robert O. Wheeler was appointed vice-chairman. Board of selectmen chairman George G. Slade, who serves as an ex-officio member of the group, was named clerk.