Councillors Finalize Marijuana Zoning Ordinance

March 17, 2017
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By Sue Ellen Woodcock

The Revere City Council has approved a revised zoning ordinance to determine where retail marijuana stores can be located. The TED district, running in the area of Lee Burbank Highway, will be the area allowed to have recreational marijuana stores. Store owners will have to obtain a special permit from the city officials to operate.

The Planning Board also held a public hearing and met regarding the revised ordinance. The board supports the use of the TED district and the requirement of a special permit.

“I think we’re doing this in a proper, professional manner,” said Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso.

“I’m strongly against recreational marijuana like many Revere residents who voted in November. We can’t stop it from coming in but we can prevent where it’s put,” said Ward 6 Councillor Charles Patch.

Medical marijuana will also be coming to the TED district. The Wellness Connection is awaiting final approval from the state Department of Public Health. A second medical marijuana facility is also being proposed for the TED district

By law the number of retail marijuana outlets in a community depends on the number of “all-liquor” licenses. For every five “all-liquor” licenses there can be one retail marijuana store. In Revere there are 11 licenses which means there can be two retail marijuana special permits.

“I’m not in favor of recreational marijuana. The more it’s ok the more it’s ok for kids and it leads to other illicit drugs,” Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe said.

The ordinance also spells out where in the city marijuana can be sold.

Recreational marijuana facilities cannot be located closer than 400-feet from residential uses, parks and playgrounds including areas of critical environmental concern such as schools, buildings and structures used from religious purposes and public schools.

Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said after having worked in the school system for 30 years there is no tolerance of marijuana use. She favors a four hundred foot buffer.

Voters approved the statewide law to make recreational marijuana legal back in November 2016 and it became law in December 2016. But the state law leaves it up to the cities and towns as to where these recreational retail facilities can go.

The revised ordinances ordinance for the city adds a definition of a “recreational marijuana facility” which is a “business that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments) transfers, transports, sell, distributes, dispenses or administers marijuana products containing marijuana and related supplies.

“We have to regulate the marijuana business in the city,” Councillor Steven Morabito said, adding that the city faced a similar zoning issue when it came to Moonlight Video.

Ward 5 Councillor John Powers agreed.

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