Vote on medical marijuana in West Springfield likely next month - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Vote on medical marijuana in West Springfield likely next month

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After months of discussion, West Springfield says a vote is likely on their medical marijuana ordinance next month.

The town council has been fine tuning the planning board's proposal, making sure guidelines are set to protect residents.

"The real idea was just trying to find a spot that they would fit best in our town and protecting our current businesses, residents and the children," Councilor Bridget Fiala said.

The town is working on the ordinance now, after the state asked cities and towns to put together ordinances to control dispensaries in their boundaries. Voters approved a law regulating the cultivating, distribution, possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes in 2012.

"At this point there is nobody that is applying to come into our town," Fiala said. "This is totally preemptive, trying to put this in place, put the best guidelines in place so that when and if somebody does want to come in, it's very clear what they need to do and the steps they need to take."

At this time, the ordinance calls for industrial zones only and requires a special permit. The dispensaries will not be allowed within 500 feet of schools, playgrounds, places of worship or any area where children commonly congregate.

"Once we do have a first applicant and somebody comes through we just want to make sure that we did the best we could to protect the town going forward," Fiala said.

A public hearing and possible vote will be held in the council chambers at Town Hall on Sept. 2.

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