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Planning Board to propose changes to allow marijuana dispensary

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The Planning Board expects to propose zoning and/or bylaw changes at this spring’s Town Meeting that would allow a medical marijuana dispensary in Newbury. At a Special Town Meeting last fall, voters approved a temporary moratorium on medical marijuana treatment centers through Dec. 31, 2014. Although the recent state law allows for the cultivation, distribution, possession, and use of marijuana for medical reasons, the town’s current code does not allow for such use. Planning Board chairman John Weis informed selectmen at a recent meeting that a facility in town would have to be located in a commercial district, and potentially in a special overlay district. There are expected to be 35 dispensaries in the state, and seven in Essex County, he said. While none have yet been proposed for Newbury, the town wants to be prepared should the need arise, Weis said.

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