a. Staff Memo & Draft Zoning amendment
a. Staff Memo & Draft Map
a. Staff Memo & Draft Zoning amendment
a. Staff Memo & Draft Map
"ONE OF THE main arguments in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana was that consumers would have access to tested, regulated products, and know exactly what they are buying.But a CommonWealth investigation reveals that the potency levels listed on websites and product labels at marijuana stores are regularly inflated, sometimes by as much as a third. The investigation also found that some products in Massachusetts cannabis stores tested positive for contaminants that would have kept them off the shelves if they were detected earlier because they were potentially unsafe for human consumption.The findings suggest that marijuana consumers cannot rely with any confidence on product labels. Labs are performing tests using different technologies and methods, and growers are gravitating to labs that report the highest THC levels or pass the most samples for contaminants, even if their testing methods are not the most scientifically accurate. That, in turn, is creating incentives for labs to generate testing results with higher THC readings."
|A marijuana sample is prepared for testing at Analytics Labs in Holyoke on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Shira Schoenberg)|
"THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE took a major step Wednesday toward improving equity in the cannabis industry, passing a bill similar to one previously passed by the Senate that would create a new grant and loan fund for diverse entrepreneurs. The bill would better regulate host community agreements and ease the process of getting marijuana-related criminal records expunged.
Five years after marijuana legislation, Rep. Dan Donahue, House chair of the Committee on Cannabis Policy, said it was time to address some nagging issues. “It is time to revisit the original legislation to provide clarity on the intent of the Legislature and work to ensure we continue to remove barriers to entry to this unique industry for those communities who were disproportionately harmed by the prohibition on marijuana,” he said. "
"The Massachusetts House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to approve major reforms to the state’s marijuana laws, with legislative leaders saying they were implementing changes long demanded by cannabis businesses, activists, and consumers.
The 153-2 vote in favor of the bill, which largely mirrors legislation approved by the state Senate in April, came on the same day regulators announced that total recreational pot sales in Massachusetts have surpassed $3 billion — underscoring the high stakes of any tweaks to the rules governing the industry.
Among other provisions, the changes would allow cities and towns to opt in to hosting marijuana cafés, steer a significant chunk of state pot tax revenue to so-called equity applicants trying to get their small cannabis businesses off the ground, crack down on controversial local fees charged to marijuana operators while easing their state tax burden, and make it easier for former defendants to wipe away old marijuana charges."
|MA House passes cannabis legislation, bill now to Conf Cmte to reconcile with MA Senate version|
|ribbon cutting ceremony|
New England Treatment Access (NETA) (www.netacare.org), a division of the privately held, multi-state cannabis company Parallel, is the leading vertically integrated cannabis company in Massachusetts. Founded by industry pioneers whose roots in regulated cannabis date to 2009, NETA's licenses encompass medical and adult-use retail operations in Brookline and Northampton and soon to be opened in Franklin with cultivation and processing facilities also in Franklin. Across the organization, NETA employs 550 individuals and produces more than 435 unique SKUs. NETA conducted the first legal adult use sale of cannabis east of the Mississippi in 2018 and has provided cutting edge therapies and best in class services to our customers in Massachusetts since 2015.
Last week, the United Regional Chamber of Commerce welcomed new member, Botera, a recreational cannabis dispensary at 1256 W. Central Street, Suite 6, Franklin https://boterama.com/. The Franklin store is the second Botera; joining the first store, which is at 747 Centre Street in Brockton.
Botera offers high-quality cannabis products in a comfortable, welcoming, and customer-focused atmosphere for adults 21+. The budtenders at Botera will help each visitor to enjoy a personalized cannabis experience. Visitors are assigned a personal budtender who has been trained to answer questions, educate them about Botera's unique products, and provide tailored recommendations based on their needs and anticipated results.
|Left to right: State Representative Shawn Dooley; URCC Board Member Charlie Miller of Business Solutions Advisory Group; State Representative Jeff Roy; Jack Patel; Botera owner Chirag Patel; URCC Board Member Zach Patten of Oak Grove Insurance; David Webster, GM of the Franklin Botera store; URCC Board Member Kate Hyde of Springhill Suites by Marriott in Wrentham; Derek Cameron of URCC member 3805 Productions; Franklin Assistant Town Manager Alecia Alleyne; and URCC President Jack Lank.|
"Rule change paves way for smokeable hemp" and Franklin farm ready to benefit
"FOR THE LAST four years, Linda Noel has planted and cultivated hemp, but the Franklin farmer has never been able to sell it because of strict regulations governing how her crop can be used.
Now that’s about to change, as the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources published a new rule Monday night allowing the state’s hemp farmers to sell the flower of the plant to legal marijuana dispensaries, which can package it into smoking products. It opens a vast new market for hemp farmers by legalizing the sale of the most profitable product to come out of the hemp plant – smokeable flower.
Hemp is a kind of cannabis plant, but unlike marijuana, it cannot get a person high. Hemp tends to be rich in CBD, which is thought to have therapeutic qualities, but does not have a significant amount of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana."
Visit Terrapin Farm on the web at -> https://terrapin.farm/
|David Kashuba and KP Owens work harvesting hemp at Terrapin Farm in Franklin. (Courtesy Linda Noel)|
"SENATE PRESIDENT Karen Spilka took a tour several weeks ago of the aging transportation infrastructure the state is looking to replace in the Allston area.
She walked underneath the badly deteriorated elevated section of the Massachusetts Turnpike. She inspected the commuter rail tracks and Soldiers Field Road and got a sense of how much stuff the state was trying to cram into a narrow section of land between Boston University and the Charles River that has come to be known as the throat.
“You see firsthand how tight it is,” Spilka said.
At the time of the tour, hosted by Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler, the Baker administration had not made any decision about how to replace all those roads and tracks. At the conclusion of the tour, Spilka remembers being a bit agnostic on what repair approach should be adopted. “I’m not an engineer,” she said."
Direct link to the MassDOT Alston project -> https://www.mass.gov/allston-multimodal-project
|Picture shows elevated Massachusetts Turnpike between BU and Charles River with Soldiers Field Road at grade. (via Commonwealth Magazine)|
"Each making a deeply personal case for improving access to mental health care, Senate President Karen Spilka and Sen. Julian Cyr helped roll out a significant reform bill Thursday, Feb. 6, that seeks to improve access to care by identifying gaps in the mental health system, enforcing equity laws and requiring insurance coverage for many emergency services.
Spilka, who called the proposal “decades in the making,” shared how her own family struggled with her father’s mental health decline following his service in World War II, and Cyr described the obstacles he has had to overcome as a gay man to get treatment for depression and anxiety.
The state codified “mental health parity” into the law 20 years ago, and yet for close to two decades advocates and legislators have been frustrated by stories of people struggling to gain the same access to mental health care as they can for their physical health. Many patients can’t find providers and don’t know where to look, Cyr said, and if they do find a provider must wait for an appointment and often struggle to afford the care.
“We have laws and we have values that say mental health must be treated the same way physical health is, and yet we don’t do it,” said state Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, one of the bill’s authors."
"Curious about which towns and cities have banned adult-use marijuana, or where cannabis delivery is allowed?Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
The Cannabis Control Commission, a five-member board tasked with nearly everything marijuana in Massachusetts, has created a new tracker on its website, in a bid for more transparency.
“By compiling the status of adult-use cannabis across Massachusetts in one central location, the Commission has furthered its commitment to implementing a regulated industry that is transparent and accessible to a wide range of stakeholders,” Commissioner Kay Doyle said, in a press release. “This resource will provide local leaders with a basis to share information around planning and zoning best practices, simplify license applicants’ search for a host municipality, and keep the public up-to-date about the progress of legalization in our state.”
The new tracker is focused on how the state’s 351 cities and towns have zoned marijuana. Visitors to the tracker can see if a community has banned the adult-use sale of the drug, put a cap on the number of licenses allowed in town, whether delivery is allowed, and if the town is one of the state’s pilots for social consumption."
"Federal regulators are setting up a new three-digit number to reach a suicide prevention hotline in order to make it easier to seek help and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
Once it’s implemented, people will just need to dial 988 to seek help, similar to calling 911 for emergencies or 311 for city services. Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). Callers are routed to one of 163 crisis centers, where counselors answered 2.2 million calls last year.
A law last year required the Federal Communications Commission to study assigning a three-digit number for suicide prevention. The FCC said in a report that there is overwhelming support for a three-digit number because it would be easier for distressed people to get help.
Thursday’s vote starts the months-long process to make that happen. The next step is a comment period before the FCC moves to an order."
"State marijuana regulators on Thursday eased their ban on vaping product sales, allowing certain types of products to return to store shelves one day after state public health officials backed off a ban on nicotine vape sales.
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the Cannabis Control Commission permitted licensed marijuana retailers to sell devices that vaporize marijuana flower for medical marijuana patients and non-medical users, devices that are used to vaporize marijuana concentrate but do not actually contain any marijuana themselves, and vaporizer cartridges that are manufactured beginning Thursday and pass a screening for contaminants like vitamin E acetate.
Still off-limits are any vaping products manufactured before Thursday that contain marijuana, meaning retailers cannot sell any vape cartridges that they have been holding in quarantine.
Marijuana vaping products have been unavailable to consumers since September, when Gov. Charlie Baker imposed a temporary ban on the sale of any vaping product amid a national outbreak of vaping-related lung disease, including three deaths in Massachusetts. When a judge ruled the CCC is the only agency that can regulate marijuana vapes, the CCC put in place an indefinite quarantine of all vaping products."Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
"The town’s first recreational marijuana dispensary has been given the green light to begin operations, although it’s unclear when its doors will open.
Proponents of the retail establishment at 1256 West Central St. - GTE Franklin, LLC - had their proposal approved for the project by the Planning Board on Sept. 23, said Town Planner Amy Love. The shop will be located within an industrial site in the town’s Marijuana Overlay District, next door to a Milford Regional Medical Center office.
Other shops with signs on-site include Franklin Yoga & Wellness, William Raveis Real Estate and Forge Auto Works."
|subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes|
"Two recreational marijuana shops are opening in Massachusetts this week, adding to the adult-use pot options for consumers in central Massachusetts.
Gage Cannabis Co. in Ayer and Nature’s Remedy of Massachusetts in Millbury each received “commence operations” notices from the state Cannabis Control Commission last week, allowing them to open within three calendar days.
Gage opened Monday, and Nature’s Remedy plans to open Friday.
By the end of the week, the state will have 28 open recreational marijuana stores."
|"By the end of the week, the state will have 28 open recreational marijuana stores"|
"Many of you have reached out with questions regarding the proposed dispensary in Franklin. We thank ALL of you for writing, calling, and meeting with us. Your voices have been heard and GTE Franklin, LLC will be holding an informational community meeting this Thursday 9/19/2019, 6:30 PM at the Franklin Senior Center. We invite all community members to visit with the owners and ask your questions."
|Marijuana dispensary: Information meeting at Senior Center, Sep 19|
"Planners are scheduled next week to resume consideration of the retail marijuana dispensary proposed for an industrially-zoned site at the northwest side of Forge Hill.
The Planning Board in August began discussing traffic issues related to the shop, Town Planner Amy Love indicated in an email. The hearing was continued to Monday. The board had previously ordered an independent traffic study to be done.
Proponents of the shop, GTE Franklin, LLC shared plans for the venture with the Planning Board at an initial hearing in mid-June, which drew a sizable crowd. Many have spoken up against the proposal, though there have also been voices raised in support.
The proposal is for an facility that would operate by appointment only, starting with a maximum of 40 visitors allowed within an hour."
|last page of the site plan revised showing the building and parking layout on the property|
"A retail marijuana dispensary proposed for an industrially-zoned site at the northwest side of Forge Hill would be open by appointment only, starting with a maximum of 40 visitors allowed within an hour.
The site would also include 24-hour interior and exterior surveillance, with ID check-in and check-out, ample parking above and beyond the minimum required by the town, and no sign.
Proponents of the shop, GTE Franklin, LLC shared these plans for the venture with the Planning Board at an initial hearing on Monday, which drew a sizable crowd. Many were there to speak against the proposal, though there were also voices raised in support.
For the Planning Board, it is the start of the members’ first foray into considering a marijuana-related business that will be open to the public."
"A retail marijuana store is on the agenda for consideration by the Planning Board next week, along with two proposed breweries.
The board will hold public hearings on each proposal on Monday in the Town Council chambers at the Franklin Municipal Building, 355 East Central St.
The hearing on the first brewery convenes at 7:05 p.m., followed by the second brewery at 7:10 p.m., and a hearing on the retail marijuana shop at 7:20 p.m.
“This is our first retail marijuana (proposal),” Town Planner Amy Love said, noting the proposal is for a 5,000-square-foot facility at 1256 West Central St. “It’s in a marijuana overlay district.”
|As Built Brewing (Facebook image)|
"The Massachusetts Walking Tour -- this year highlighting the local area’s Ten Mile River Watershed -- runs June 17 through 29. All on foot, the traveling musicians give a free concert in each community they stop at and host daily community hikes to bring awareness to local natural resources. In each town, they invite local performers to share the stage with them, promoting local arts and culture in the process.
Like traveling minstrels of old, songwriters Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards are getting ready to pack up their instruments and other gear and take their show on the road.
The pair is marking the 10th year of their Massachusetts Walking Tour - this year highlighting the region’s Ten Mile River Watershed."Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
|Massachusetts Walking Tour - 2019|
"The Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday approved the sale of New England Treatment Access, which operates a marijuana cultivation facility in Franklin, but not before commissioners raised concerns about the buyer’s track record in Florida.
The vote was unanimous in favor of the sale to Georgia-based Surterra Wellness, led by the former head of the Wrigley chewing gum empire William “Beau” Wrigley Jr., but commissioners added conditions to require Surterra to submit plans to comply with Massachusetts regulations around edible products, advertising and marketing.
Those conditions, requested by Commissioner Kay Doyle, stemmed from reports that a Surterra facility that processes marijuana products was shut down for having not completed a food safety inspection and that the company violated Florida restrictions around advertising and marketing of medical marijuana products."
"As state regulators prepare to discuss and possibly vote on a policy to allow marijuana use in certain public social settings, Gov. Charlie Baker indicated Monday he could be open to a pilot program for things like pot cafes and lounges.
The Cannabis Control Commission is expected to have a “policy discussion” on Thursday about social consumption, or a policy that would allow adults to use marijuana in some form in a social setting. The commission initially drafted regulations to allow so-called social consumption but put the issues on the back burner after pushback last year from Baker.
“It’s not up to me, it’s up to the CCC,” Baker said Monday when asked about the policy the CCC plans to discuss Thursday. “What I’ve said many times about most of the issues associated with the rollout of recreational marijuana, is it’s really important that they, the CCC, understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it as they make these decisions.”
"Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza rode in a self-driving car for the first time Tuesday when they inaugurated the state’s autonomous vehicle pilot program.
They circled the State House without incident and declared Rhode Island a leader in transportation technology.
Raimondo “got a little nervous” when the vehicle attendant took his hands off the controls, she said after stepping out of the shuttle on Smith Street. “But after a couple minutes it felt great. It felt safe and smooth. ... It swerved around the curb that juts out. It stopped at a red light, took a left when it needed to.”
"Marijuana is a big part of campus life, but it’s still not welcome.
Massachusetts colleges and universities prohibit marijuana on campus across the state, despite voters approving recreational marijuana more than two years ago.
The reasons to ban it vary, but schools by and large invoke federal law and landlord status to make sure the drug – ever popular among college students – is not allowed.
“Colleges have landlord privilege and Massachusetts law says any landlord can ban marijuana from its facilities,” explained Jim Borghesani, who worked on the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana."Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
"Millions of people may be able to show their smartphones rather than a plastic card to prove they’re legit to drive, vote or buy a beer in coming years.
Louisiana in July became the first state to make digital licenses available to anyone who wants them, and at least 14 other states either have developed a program, run a pilot or are studying the possibility, according to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
Seventy-seven percent of American adults already own a smartphone, including 94 percent of adults under 30, and many state motor vehicle officials think residents will appreciate the convenience of having their driver’s license available in an app."
|Public Hearing: Marijuana Cultivation and Product |
Manufacturing and Research Facility Use - Oct 29