Aug 16, 2015 1:43 PM

Merrimack to hold hearing on rules for hosting marijuana dispensary

MERRIMACK - The town planning board will be holding a public hearing Tuesday night after a company licensed to build a medical marijuana dispensary expressed interest in locating in town.

"In response to the potential for an (Alternative Treatment Center) to locate in Merrimack, the Town Council has developed proposed Zoning Ordinance amendments intended to provide greater local regulatory oversight to such operations," Merrimack Community Development Director Tim Thompson wrote in an Aug. 12 memo to planning board staff that was shared with the Telegraph of Nashua.

The 2013 law that legalized medical marijuana split the state into four areas, each of which can have one dispensary and one cultivation center. In June, the state Department of Health and Human Services selected three companies to receive license, allowing them to explore sites in their assigned regions.

Prime Alternative Treatment Centers will cover Hillsborough and Merrimack counties; Temescal Wellness, Inc. has the southeast and southwest regions and Sanctuary ATC will cover the North Country.

During an initial review by the town council in July, Chairman Nancy Harrington, who is also a nurse, expressed support for the idea but recommended scrutiny.

"There is a certain amount of due process that we have to demonstrate. There are going to be people that are going to be nervous about it. I think demonstrating control and concern as much as we can will help," she said.

The meeting on Tuesday, which starts at 7 p.m. in the Matthew Thornton room at the town hall, provides an opportunity for the planning board to collect public feedback before making a recommendation to the council either to adopt the proposed zoning changes as written, amend them or reject them.

After the board renders an opinion, the council will hold its own public hearing on Aug. 20, followed by a final vote Sept. 10.

Meanwhile Peterborough residents and the board of selectmen will discuss a marijuana cultivation center proposed by the same company for a location in the Brookstone Business Center. The plan has already receiving zoning approval, according to the Keene Sentinel. That meeting is Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the town offices.


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