Ayer voters next week will consider a moratorium on applications for medical marijuana dispensaries.
The vote comes in the wake of a Shirley business owner who is proposing to open just such a business on Central Ave. in Ayer. He owns the building and has spent considerable time educating himself on medical marijuana dispensaries. While he would be involved in the business ends of things, he will employ medical professionals who will handle that end of the business.
Actually getting the marijuana would be tightly regulated. The business would not simply sell packets of marijuana from shelves. Patients must get a doctor's recommendation and then the type of marijuana that would best address the patient's need would be grown.
Security measures will control access to the building for patients only.
Since health insurance does not cover the cost of medical marijuana, purchase of the medicinal herb will not come cheap. That shows, we think, how badly some people need this medicine after all other treatments fail.
The state law allows for up to 35 dispensaries in the state, and it allows moratoriums, but does not permit a community to prohibit such a business.
Bringing the issue before the voters is the logical step. The Planning Board recommended a 90-day moratorium and the selectmen expressed preference for a year.
With big-box-type companies building medical marijuana dispensaries in other states, we think a locally owned business would be more attuned to the community, preferable to a faceless corporation.
We hope voters will think carefully about the subject and not base opinions on outdated and inaccurate fears about marijuana. Central Ave. is a good spot for such a business and there are people suffering with debilitating illnesses who need the help.