MA: Advocate For Marijuana Shops Baffled By Moratoriums

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
A spokesman for the triumphant campaign to legalize adult-use marijuana said he doesn't understand why communities have enacted moratoriums on pot stores, in light of the state Legislature's efforts to delay the retail portion of the proposal until at least the summer of 2018.

In December, Gov. Charles D. Baker Jr. signed a bill to delay the opening of marijuana shops in Massachusetts until mid-2018, to prepare for the new industry.

Jim Borghesani of the Yes on 4 campaign said he considers the moratoriums redundant.

"I've seen a lot of moratoriums that expire in July of 2018," Borghesani said. "Legal sales won't even begin until July 2018 at the earliest. So I don't quite understand the function of those moratoriums.

"But if local officials think that they need more time, and the moratorium gives them more time, then so be it. But I would urge all local officials to actually read the initiative. They'll find out that there really isn't any great mystery. We don't have to wait for the Legislature to come out with any zoning recommendations; they're already in the initiative. They give local authorities the ability to determine where facilities are located when they can operate and the manner of business. They have substantial local control."

In the meantime, Borghesani said, a lot of entrepreneurs from Massachusetts and other states want to move forward in the Bay State.

"We've been hearing from folks across the country who are looking at various markets, looking at new states, including California, Maine, Nevada and Massachusetts, and questioning why Massachusetts is going to take so much longer than the other states," he said. "We've had to tell them that only in Massachusetts has the Legislature decided to delay retail sales. Nevada sales are going to begin very soon. They're moving up their timetable."

Numerous Central Massachusetts communities have put in place or are considering moratoriums on marijuana stores.

In the meantime, the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission is coordinating assistance to its communities, and a dialogue with other regional planning agencies around the state, trying to get the most up-to-date information and a full breadth of knowledge of what's going on at the state level, said Christopher J. Ryan, community development manager for CMRPC.

"We have told our communities that we really haven't developed our own individualized model bylaw for a moratorium," he said.

"But we have let them know the other communities that already have passed moratoria and have had success at the (attorney general) level. There's the Westborough model" of its Town Meeting voting to eliminate the commercial potential for recreational marijuana retail sales, Ryan said. Westborough was the first town in the state to ban pot stores.

Southborough also voted at its Town Meeting to ban recreational marijuana stores.

In Dudley Monday night, Town Meeting voters enacted a temporary moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses.

Also Monday night, the Webster Planning Board was expected to launch a discussion about a possible moratorium.

Webster Planning Board member Thomas Klebart said he attended a CMRPC meeting, and he intends to pass out materials CMRPC provided about recreational marijuana.

The majority of Webster residents who voted in the November statewide general election voted in favor of the initiative to legalize marijuana.

Klebart said he is open-minded about the potential for marijuana stores in Webster


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