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Malden passes medicinal marijuana dispensary restrictions

Posted by Jarret Bencks  January 23, 2013 11:14 AM

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Officials in Malden approved measures to keep medical marijuana treatment centers, and marijuana vending machines, out of commercial and residential areas.

The Malden City Council unanimously approved ordinance changes during its meeting Tuesday to restrict medicinal marijuana centers, vending machines, and businesses where prescription cards for marijuana can be obtained to industrial areas of the city.

Nearby communities, such as Melrose and Wakefield, have pushed for outright bans on the centers, but Malden officials weren't confident such an ordinance would hold up in court, City Councilor Jim Nestor said in a phone interview Wednesday.

"Some of us would like to ban them outright, but we couldn't do that because we felt we would be legally challenged, and we would lose," he said.

The referendum legalizing marijuana for medical use and treatment centers -- passed by voters in November -- calls for a maximum of 35 centers in 2013 and for the state's Department of Public Health to adjust that number in the future.

Malden will not issue any licenses until the state finalizes its regulations on medicinal marijuana, Nestor said.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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