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Township jointure members adopt local medical marijuana rules


Wrightstown, Upper Makefield and Newtown Township have jointly adopted new zoning rules that establish where medical marijuana dispensaries and growing/processing facilities can operate within the townships.

On Dec. 4, Upper Makefield’s board of supervisors passed an ordinance that allows validly licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to operate as a conditional use in the Village Commercial-1 Zoning District (VC-1).

The ordinance notes that, within Upper Makefield, dispensaries will be allowed, by conditional use, on the east and west sides of Taylorsville Road north of Route 532, and within the VC-1 district.

Meanwhile, the ordinance enables validly licensed medical marijuana growers and processors to operate by conditional use in the Light Industrial Zoning District.

Dispensaries and growing and processing facilities are prohibited from being within 1,000 feet of the property lines of schools, preschools, and daycare centers, among other conditions.

Wrightstown and Newtown Township had previously approved the medical marijuana zoning regulations. For the rules to go on the books, however, Upper Makefield had to approve the ordinance, too. That’s because the municipalities collectively manage local zoning through the Newtown Area Zoning Jointure, which consists of officials from each township.

Pennsylvania rules prohibit municipalities from banning medical marijuana facilities because they’re a permitted business under state law. Nonetheless, municipalities can use local zoning to establish where such businesses can set up shop within their borders.

Under Pennsylvania law, people suffering from a range of qualified medical conditions – from cancer and HIV/AIDS, to chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin – are eligible to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis through a physician.

Recreational marijuana use remains illegal in the Keystone State.