Chesterfield continues to discuss marijuana bylaw, no special TM this month

  • Marijuana File photo

Staff Writer
Published: 5/13/2022 5:39:12 PM
Modified: 5/13/2022 5:37:34 PM

CHESTERFIELD — The town’s marijuana bylaw continues to be in development. And while there was some talk about a special Town Meeting in May to put the bylaw before voters, it now looks like that is off the table.

“I think the story has been the process,” said C.J. Lammers, who serves on the Planning Board.

The Planning Board has been drafting the bylaw, over “five very productive meetings,” Lammer said. “We provided extensive opportunities for people to participate.”

Lammers said that there was talk about having a special Town Meeting to vote on the bylaw this month. However, the more than a dozen speakers that weighed in on the bylaw at a public hearing at the end of April, combined with two new members being elected to the Planning Board on May 2, means that this will not happen, Lammers said, as the board isn’t scheduled to meet again until June 6.

Lammers said that the next step for the Planning Board is to prepare a report about the last public hearing on the bylaw and respond to the comments it received at that hearing.

One group of people closely watching the development of the bylaw is Farm Bug Co-op, a worker-owned marijuana cooperative that wants to grow marijuana in town.

“We are patiently awaiting the bylaw process to play out,” said Rich Koloszyc, a founding member of the co-op.

The co-op is hoping to put a grow facility on Bryant Road, where Koloszyc’s partner Maya Greene owns a farm.

Koloszyc said that there has been a movement of people concerned about marijuana in town, and that Farm Bug is looking to have an open house this month to show that not all marijuana is industrial.

“It’s a plant,” he said. “It’s farmed just like all other plants.”

He also said that an overly strict bylaw would keep out small farmers.

Koloszyc said that the current version of the bylaw would allow Farm Bug to move forward with its business. However, he said that the noise abatement requirement as currently outlined presents a difficulty.

“I wouldn’t be able to mow our lawn,” he said.

He also expressed opposition to a suggestion at the last hearing that would require that no odor be apparent at the property line, saying that it would make the business less green and efficient. And he noted that this rule isn’t in place for other business activity in town, saying that there are no such regulations on cow manure.

Additionally, Koloszyc expressed a desire that regulation for marijuana be closer to the existing town nuisance bylaws.

Nevertheless, Koloszyc said that he’s pleased that the process is moving forward and hopes that it will allow a co-op like the one he is a part of to set up in town.

Should the bylaw be approved, and should it make it so their business would be sustainable, Koloszyc said that Farm Bug would seek a host community agreement with Chesterfield.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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