MA: Braintree Council Vote On Marijuana Expected

Photo Credit: WGME

With the application process for permitting recreational marijuana businesses about to start, At-Large Town Councilor Sean Powers wants to see a vote on proposed restrictions.

Powers, who chairs the council’s ordinance and rules committee, said “it is my hope it is taken up as soon as possible.”

He said there is a question if permits can be sought if restrictions are not in place by April 1, when the state’s Cannabis Control Commission starts accepting license applications.

“There is a legal gray area,” Powers said.

The committee voted Tuesday night to ask the planning board for their opinion of two zoning proposals. Both would prohibit retail shops selling recreational marijuana, while the one submitted by Mayor Joseph Sullivan would place a moratorium on all other marijuana businesses until Dec. 31, while the other, sponsored by District 4 Town Councilor Stephen O’Brien, would ban them completely.

Sullivan asked for the delay in order to study the possible benefits of allowing marijuana production facilities in town after the control board issues its regulations, which were finalized on Tuesday.

The planning board, which makes recommendations to the council on zoning matters, is scheduled to meet on Tuesday night.

Powers said whatever the planning board decides”will come back to the committee so we can make a recommendation to the full council” for a vote before the end of the month.

The committee has been holding months of hearings on the marijuana issue, but it has not yet come up for a vote of the full council. Powers said that since three new members joined the council in January, he wanted them to have some time to familiarize themselves with the issue.

Former District 6 Town Councilor, Dan Clifford, a staunch opponent of recreational marijuana, told the committee Tuesday night the town should prohibit it “from seed to sale” as 90 communities around the state have done. Not to do so “could change Braintree’s values and culture forever,” Clifford said.

The marijuana restrictions are also included in a general town by-law, an approach which has been used in other communities.

Since the town voted against allowing recreational marijuana in a 2016 state referendum, the town can impose the restriction with the approval of only the town council and mayor.