New Bedford is putting a hold on retail sales of recreational marijuana, as shops prepare to come online in the Bay State this July. The New Bedford City Council has voted to wait until October.
That’s to give the city time to draft new zoning rules for marijuana shops, which are already set to pop up across the Commonwealth. New Bedford’s zoning laws don’t currently address marijuana establishments.
“There’s a special committee for zoning of cannabis established in the city,” said City Councilor Joe Lopes. “That committee is working with the city solicitor, and the city council attorney to address language, using the guidelines that were established by the state when the voters adopted recreational marijuana consumption.”
Lopes voted in favor of the moratorium, but he says it will only extend to October if necessary.
“If we get something done prior to the moratorium expiring, we can adopt it, and then the moratorium would be null and void,” said Lopes. “This gives us the appropriate time we need to properly draft zoning language.”
In Rhode Island, lawmakers are studying a rollout of recreational marijuana, but the issue is not expected to move forward this year.