LIVERMORE — Proposed amendments to the town’s medical marijuana ordinance drew questions and comments at Thursday evening’s hearing on the annual Town Meeting warrant.
Residents were invited to participate via Zoom or in person at the Town Office/Fire Station complex to review articles on the June 8 warrant. Voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day at Spruce Mountain Primary School, Gibbs Mill Road.
Resident Michael Weaver asked why the distance between medical marijuana businesses and religious-related activities, licensed day cares, recreational areas for children up to 18 years old and designated municipal safe zones was changed from 500 to 1,000 feet.
It was made on the advice of the town attorney, Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller said. “He wanted to have the distances mirror each other. The old language wasn’t consistent. We wanted to have consistency, a good road map for our planners and Select Board to make decisions when it comes to licensing.”
“This is a licensing ordinance, not a zoning ordinance,” Miller said. “You understand that this (ordinance) wouldn’t apply to you?”
“To clarify, if you reside on the property, that you’re exempted from this restriction,” moderator Matt Dunlap, former Secretary of State, noted.
Miller confirmed, referencing Section 7 under definitions in the ordinance: “For the purpose of this ordinance, the term Medical Marijuana Cultivation Facility means a facility used for cultivating, processing, and/or storing of medical marijuana by a registered caregiver at a location which is not the registered caregiver’s primary year-round residence or their patient’s primary year-round residence.”
“You’re not considered a medical marijuana cultivation facility because you live there,” Miller said.
Resident Lea Young asked why Weaver has to redo his license, which was approved in January 2020.
“I don’t believe anyone has said he needed to redo anything,” Miller said.
“I was told I wasn’t approved, was given a paper saying I wasn’t approved,” Weaver said.
The licensing process hasn’t changed, Dunlap noted.
“What happened in January in terms of the licensing process itself doesn’t seem to be substantially changed except for what they call things,” Dunlap said. “It’s not appropriate for us to be talking about that here because that is typically a confidential process.”
Changes to the Comprehensive Plan aren’t part of the marijuana ordinance, Miller said.
Weaver asked if the medical marijuana ordinance was flawed, if there were complaints or safety concerns leading to the changes.
“No,” Miller replied.
The Town Meeting warrant and changes to the medical marijuana ordinance may be found on the town website or at the Town Office, 10 Crash Road.