SECTION 1. Chapter 40A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 official edition, is hereby amended by inserting, at the end thereof, the following new section:-
Section 18: Special Permits for Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers
Zoning ordinances or by-laws may provide for special permits authorizing the establishment of medical marijuana treatment centers for their patrons as hereinafter defined. Such zoning ordinance or by-law may state the specific improvements, amenities or locations of proposed uses for which such permit may be granted and may provide that the proposed use be a specific distance from any district designated by zoning ordinance or by-law for any residential use or from any other medical marijuana treatment center or from any school, park, playground, recreational facility, day care center, or senior center. Such zoning ordinance or by-law shall prohibit the issuance of such special permits to any person convicted of violating the provisions of section thirty-two E of chapter ninety-four C.
As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:—
“Medical marijuana treatment center”, a not-for-profit entity, as defined by Massachusetts law only, registered under this law, that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients or their personal caregivers.
Zoning ordinances or by-laws shall provide that special permits shall only be issued following public hearings held within sixty-five days after filing of an application with the special permit granting authority, a copy of which shall forthwith be given to the city or town clerk by the applicant, and may provide that certain classes of special permits shall be issued by one special permit granting authority and others by another special permit granting authority as provided in the ordinance or by-law. Such special permit granting authority shall adopt and from time to time amend rules relative to the issuance of such permits, and shall file a copy of said rules in the office of the city or town clerk. Such rules shall prescribe a size, form, contents, style and number of copies of plans and specifications and the procedure for a submission and approval of such permits.
Special permit granting authorities shall act within ninety days following a public hearing for which notice has been given by publication or posting as provided in section eleven, and by mailing to all parties in interest; provided, however, that a city council having more than five members designated to act upon such a permit may appoint a committee of such council to hold the public hearing. Failure by a special permit granting authority to take final action upon an application for a special permit within said ninety days following the date of public hearing shall be deemed to be a grant of the permit applied for. Special permits issued by a special permit granting authority shall require a two-thirds vote of boards with more than five members, a vote of at least four members of a five member board and a unanimous vote of a three member board. Zoning ordinances or by-laws shall provide that a special permit granted under this section shall lapse within a specified period of time, not more than two years, and including such time required to pursue or await the determination of an appeal referred to in section seventeen, from the grant thereof, if a substantial use thereof has not sooner commenced except for good cause or, in the case of permit for construction, if construction has not begun by such date except for good cause.
Any existing medical marijuana treatment center shall apply for such permit within ninety days following the adoption of said zoning ordinance or by-law by a municipality.
Nothing contained herein shall be construed as limiting the power and authority of cities and towns to regulate the use of land, structures or buildings through by-law or zoning ordinance.
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