Understanding the Truth About a Moratorium
Ayer voters will consider passing a moratorium on the siting of marijuana for medical use dispensary at a Special Town Meeting on June 24. Before voters act, we would like to inform them of the real impact of a moratorium.
We'd also like to offer an alternative course of action: voting against the moratorium and supporting Central Ave Compassionate Care. Doing so would ensure a locally based, non-profit center that professionally and responsibly provides marijuana for medical use to only legitimate patients. Central Ave Compassionate Care is committed to reinvesting its profits into the community through grants for public safety, drug abuse prevention, and other needs. In addition, it is fully committed to following all state regulations and working closely with local public safety and health officials to protect the public.
Moratorium Will Not Ban Marijuana for Medical Use Dispensaries in Ayer
A moratorium may delay the siting of a marijuana for medical use dispensary by up to 12-18 months, but may not ban them outright, according to the state Attorney General's Office. At the end of the moratorium, a dispensary may open where allowed by zoning bylaws.
Moratorium Could Lead to Legal, In-Home Cultivation
While the state regulations address many concerns, including inventory control, security and eligibility, the regulations also allow patients to home-grow marijuana for medical use if they have no reasonable access to a dispensary. For the duration of the moratorium, patients in Ayer who have the legal right to marijuana for medical use would also have the right to cultivate it in their homes.
Private homes will lack the security, inventory control and oversight that will be present at a registered dispensary of marijuana for medical use, such as the Central Ave Compassionate Care.
Delaying Central Ave Compassionate Care Could Lead to Out-of-State Conglomerate
If the town chooses to create a zone for regulated marijuana dispensaries, an RMD could open in that area by right, and it may not be the locally based Central Ave Compassionate Care, which has committed to reinvesting its revenues into grants for public safety and drug abuse education.
Out-of-state dispensaries are eyeing locations in Massachusetts, and could target Ayer, which would then have a dispensary without local commitment or ties. Another dispensary operator may also not provide transportation and financial support to those patients in need, which could allow those patients to home cultivate.
Ayer Bylaws Already Adequate
The towns zoning bylaws already allow the building inspector and planning board sufficient oversight of businesses, and a marijuana for medical use dispensary fits, by right, into the general business zones in town. In addition, the Board of Health, Police Department, Fire Department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health would have oversight functions.
An Alternative Plan: Support Central Ave Compassionate Care
An alternative plan would be for the town to support Central Ave Compassionate Care at 31 Central Ave. A Regulated Marijuana Dispensary at that location would guarantee it is the only place in town where marijuana for medical use is available, because of the limited number of state licenses. The location is outside of downtown, visible from the street, and would be open only to patients and their caregivers. These are people suffering from terrible diseases, such as cancer and ALS, or their caregivers.