When state voters approve something through a referendum, individual towns can't prohibit it.
That's the gist of a state Attorney General's Office ruling, which strikes down bans on medical marijuana facilities, as conflicting with state law. In November, state voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot referendum that allowed medical marijuana treatment facilities and dispensaries.
Attorney General Martha Coakley's decision came in a review of a bylaw approved in Wakefield.
Towns are able to adopt zoning bylaws that will regulate the treatment centers, as well as enact temporary moratoriums on development of the centers, according to the Attorney General's Office.
Regulation-by-zoning is the approach Braintree officials plan to take, once state guidelines come down later this spring.
"Controlling the placement of any potential marijuana distribution center in Braintree was always going to be done through proper zoning ordinances and the recent ruling by the Attorney General confirms that that is the right approach," Councilor-at-Large Sean Powers said in an email.
"My belief still is that these centers should not be near schools, libraries, nursing homes or assisted living facilities, drinking establishments or package stores. The state regulations come out in May and I hope to move forward with something shortly thereafter."
Last fall, Braintree voters approved the ballot measure 57 percent to 43 percent. That was slightly less favorable than voters statewide, who supported it 63 percent to 37 percent.
The Attorney General's office reviews all by-laws adopted or amended by a town. For access to the Wakefield decision, click here. For access to the Burlington decision, which involved the moratorium, click here.