Valley Green Grow seeks to site the largest marijuana growing operation in the country on Charlton Orchards land on Old Worcester Road.
Judge Robert Foster ruled that because Charlton had previously regulated recreational marijuana through zoning, it could not ban marijuana shops and override zoning regulations with a general bylaw. The judge wrote that such a ban is “beyond the scope of the Town’s power and authority.”
“Having permitted marijuana use through its zoning bylaw, Charlton could only change or bar that use by amending the zoning bylaw,” Judge Foster wrote in the 21-page decision. “It could not do what it did here — bar the previously allowed zoning use by … a general bylaw.”
In May, Charlton town meeting passed a zoning bylaw allowing recreational marijuana business in parts of the town. At a special town meeting in August, voters sought to rescind the zoning bylaw and enact a general bylaw imposing a ban.
Zoning articles need a two-thirds vote to succeed at town meeting, and the measure failed. The general bylaw, which only needed a majority vote, passed.
Valley Green Grow Inc. filed the lawsuit in September.