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In 2008, state voters approved decriminalizing the possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, replacing a potential prison sentence of up to six months with a $100 civil fine.
But Needham has been looking at raising its fine regardless of what happened with the medical marijuana ballot question, Fogg said.
“This is more of a deterrent, and it’s sending a message that public consumption of marijuana is not appropriate in our town,” she said.
Fogg said she is worried that marijuana will be much easier for teens to obtain.
The proposed bylaw is being discussed by various boards, and Fogg hopes the measure will be approved so it can go before Town Meeting in the spring for a vote.
Jerry Wasserman, chairman of the Needham Board of Selectmen, said he thinks there is some difference of opinion among board members but the higher fine hasn’t been formally discussed.
Many are questioning how the state Department of Public Health will be able to register and monitor both the dispensaries and the patients who obtain cards allowing them to use marijuana.
The state agency responded to Globe questions with an e-mailed statement:
“The department will work closely with health care and public safety officials to develop smart and balanced policies and procedures over the coming months,” said Dr. Lauren Smith, the department’s interim commissioner, in the statement. “We will work carefully, learn from other states’ experiences, and put a system in place that is right for Massachusetts.”
The Massachusetts Municipal Association is asking the state Legislature to delay implementation of the law so cities and towns have more time to update their bylaws, ordinances, and zoning regulations.
Vicente Sederberg LLC, a law firm based in Colorado, where medical marijuana was legalized a decade ago, specializes in advising medical marijuana operations, and started working in Medford about a week after the Nov. 6 vote. It had already received roughly 100 inquiries from people interested in opening dispensaries in the state, said Shaleen Title, a lawyer with the firm.
She said she hopes communities will think twice about banning dispensaries.
“As we all know, marijuana is widely available,” said Title. “What would actually happen is localities that pass bans force patients to go to the underground market, and that’s bad for patients and for communities as well.”
Her firm’s clients include Wanda James and Scott Durrah, a Denver couple who own Simply Pure, a company that creates edible marijuana products, and who are looking to open a dispensary in Massachusetts. They are eyeing Boston proper, James said, but outside the city is a possibility too.
“Most of our patients tend to be women around 40 to 55, so the suburbs is a wonderful spot as well,” she said. “It’s important for us to be able to show it’s not for kids, it’s not about being stoned, it truly is bringing help to people who are suffering from nausea,’’ she said. “We see a lot of cancer patients, we see a lot of end-of-life patients.”
Durrah, a Weymouth native, likes the idea of a spot near the city’s major hospitals.
“We see Boston as . . . another way to legitimize this industry further,” he said.