BOH Weeds Through Pot Regulation Options
With a marijuana moratorium in place, the Marion Board of Health finds itself at its leisure when it comes to drafting up local regulations for adult non-medical marijuana use establishments. Unlike some Massachusetts municipalities crafting ‘placeholder’ draft regulations in time for April 1 when the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) starts accepting marijuana establishment applications, Marion has until the end of this year to implement theirs. Still, Board of Health members are eager to get a glimpse of what their options are pertaining to regulation and enforcement of the sale of marijuana.
Cheryl Sbarra, senior staff attorney and director of the Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program and Chronic Disease Prevention Program for the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, once again assisted the board on February 27 by introducing a tentative regulation placeholder template some municipalities without a moratorium are looking at. The placeholder was drafted by a working group in which Sbarra is a member.
Sbarra said what she presented to the board that day is somewhat of a checklist “menu” that boards of health could pick from, and included in that “menu” are some regulations similar to those of tobacco already in place.
Some of these options are expected as standard: food code enforcement for edible marijuana products; a section for calculating a fee structure along with permitting costs; the restriction of smoking or ‘vaping’ marijuana on establishments that sell marijuana; and banning vending machines, coupons, and free samples.
Some of the options that could be considered ‘unreasonable,’ difficult to enforce, or that exceed the state’s own regulations, however, were marked with an asterisk pending a determination of legality.
One such asterisked policy option, for example, is “No person shall cultivate marijuana without first obtaining a Home Cultivation Permit from the … Board of Health.”
“[We’re] not sure at