Falls Supervisors to consider ordinance for medical marijuana regulation

Falls Township is the latest of a few Bucks municipalities to get out ahead of medical marijuana.

During their Nov. 7 meeting, Falls Supervisors will consider passing an ordinance to set regulations for the production and distribution of medical marijuana throughout the township.

“The state has made some changes in the legality of medical marijuana,” Supervisors Chairman Bob Harvie said. “We want to start putting in place some concrete definitions about where these facilities can be located.”

Falls’ draft ordinance follows similar regulations passed by Warminster and Lower Southampton. It’s something municipalities have begun planning for all over Lower Bucks. Northampton Township Board of Supervisors will consider adopting its own ordinance during a public hearing on Nov. 16.

State legislators passed Act 16, the law allowing restricted use of medical marijuana for a specific list of medical conditions, in April. Though it’s not supposed to be fully implemented until early 2018, these municipalities are eager to stay in front of it.

“Our intent with this is to ensure that our residents, particularly our children, are safe,” Harvie said. “The regulations outlined in the ordinance will give us the power to control where facilities could be located, and require proper security protocols be put in place.”

Falls’ draft ordinance, like the one passed by Lower Southampton, differentiates between a medical marijuana grower and dispensary, requiring that these operations be conducted in separate facilities.

The draft says these facilities are required to “operate entirely within an indoor, enclosed, and secure facility.” They would need to provide a 24-hour security plan, along with tracking, recordkeeping, record retention and a surveillance system. The hours of operation would be limited to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sales would be allowed only inside the dispensaries, which prohibits sidewalk sales or drive-through service.

The use of medical marijuana could not be advertised on radio or television. Minors would not be permitted to enter either facility without a caregiver.

The proposed ordinance also outlines where the facilities can be located. They will not be permitted within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, daycare centers, community centers or worship sites. They would be allowed in Falls’ highway commercial, materials processing and manufacturing and farming and mining districts.

Falls Township Supervisors will consider adoption during their meeting on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the public meeting room at the township building, 188 Lincoln Highway, Suite 100 in Fairless Hills.

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