Massachusetts cities and towns can’t outright ban medical marijuana dispensaries within their borders, Attorney General Martha Coakley has ruled, upholding the medical-marijuana law passed by voters in November. Her ruling nullifies a total ban on dispensaries that had been enacted as a bylaw by the town of Wakefield.
However, she upheld a decision by the town of Burlington to impose a moratorium on dispensaries till 2014 while the town reviews its zoning.
In announcing her decision, Coakley reasoned that if one town could ban dispensaries, so could every town, and the will of the voters would be reversed. It apparently did not occur to her that every town could now enact an indefinite moratorium, and those patients who need marijuana to relieve their suffering could be put on hold throughout the state.
Still, a welcome instance of respecting the voters’ will.