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Bans on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Incompatible With State Law

Plymouth officials haven't begun a discussion regarding medical marijuana dispensaries but the attorney general is saying that, if the town does take some action, it better not be to ban them.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley ruled that cities and towns cannot ban medical marijuana dispensaries, according to BostonHerald.com.

Municipalities can, however, use zoning rules to keep dispensaries in a certain area, and that is a discussion that is expected to take place in Medford in the future.

The Plymouth Board of Selectmen have looked at current bylaws and decided to wait until final regulation is published by the Attorney General before considering potential changes to the bylaw, according to Selectmen Chairman Matthew Muratore.

Coakley ruled that a Wakefield zoning ban on medical marijuana dispensaries approved at their Town Meeting last year conflicts with state law.

"The (law's) legislative purpose could not be served if a municipality could prohibit treatment centers within its borders, for if one municipality could do so, presumably all could do so," Coakley wrote in her decision to reject the Wakefield bylaw.

Reading voted 113-39 last November to prohibit any future medical marijuana treatment center from opening in town.

Coakley did approve a bylaw adopted in Burlington that places a moratorium on dispensaries, according to BostonHerald.com, similar to the one recently proposed in North Reading that would temporarily prevent anyone from licensing a dispensary in town.

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