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Local News

October 11, 2013

Salem council votes against further marijuana regulations

SALEM — City councilors last night shot down a proposal to consider new regulations for a medical marijuana dispensary to be placed in the city.

Before the vote, they heard a passionate presentation from a resident who supports such a clinic.

The council unanimously voted last night to kill a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would specifically address regulations for such dispensaries. The proposal submitted by Councilor Todd Siegel had the intent to give the city more time to study potential impacts and develop any additional restrictions.

If approved last night, the proposal would have put a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries being located in the city until new zoning regulations were voted on by the Planning Board and City Council. The majority of the council believed the city’s current zoning regulations are adequate to locate such a facility in the city. There are five nonprofit organizations looking to open a dispensary in the city, according to Councilor Mike Sosnowski.

Under rules established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health no more than five dispensaries can be located in a county and there can only be one located in any given community, according to councilors. No licenses have not been awarded by the department as of yet.

During public testimony, Bridge Street resident Nicole Snow Dawson spoke in favor of having a dispensary in the city. Her husband, Tommy, suffers from neurofibromatosis, she said.

“Salem has an opportunity to welcome dispensaries into this community,” Dawson said.

Dawson said her husband’s central nervous system grows tumors throughout his body and explained the pain her husband feels because of his condition and many surgeries.

“His condition has given him a lot of trouble through his 24 years,” she said. “Tommy chooses to use medical cannabis and one of the reasons why is because conventional medicine doesn’t work for him.”

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