Town Meeting should enact proposed bylaws about recreational marijuana dispensaries: hours of operation and service by appointment. Those are Articles 1 and 2 at the “third special town meeting” on November 19, 2019. Text and explanations are available on the Web from the Town of Brookline.
Our family has lived in Brookline nearly fifty years. Our children grew up here and are graduates of Brookline schools. Over a 48-year span, I served in Town Meeting a total of 21 years. In 1974, I proposed what became Brookline’s first bylaw governing hours of business operation. Brookline restricts businesses to inhibit nuisances, under “police powers” of towns recognized since the Colonial era.
Dispensaries for medical marijuana began in Brookline under a state initiative passed by voters in 2012. Most residents did not expect nuisances, and the town did not impose many restrictions, such as those for restaurants and liquor stores. However, expansion to recreational marijuana, passed by voted in 2016, led to nuisances that severely impact some neighborhoods.
Limiting hours and restricting operations to service by appointment are reasonable responses to actual experiences. Brookline already has agreements with some dispensaries. A new bylaw might not be able to override them. However, when the agreements expire, renewals should conform with bylaws in effect at those times.