Council Slows Down on Recreational Marijuana Ban

October 6, 2017
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By Sue Ellen Woodcock

The Revere City Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. regarding a proposed ban on recreational marijuana shops.

The council decided to slow down the process when it comes to banning pot shops and the sale of recreational marijuana in Revere.

Last week Council Vice President Patrick Keefe proposed a ban, and it passed without going to a committee or a public hearing. But this week, Keefe slowed down, faced with a motion to reconsider last week’s vote. Reconsideration had been filed by Councillor Anthony Zambuto and Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky. The motion to reconsider failed, but the council did move to hold a public hearing. Ultimately it will be the mayor who approves or disapproves a ban.

“I’m against any type of marijuana,” Keefe said, adding that he’s very passionate about a ban and took it to heart.

Councillor George Rotondo, who was absent from last week’s vote, said the council needed to follow protocol so the city doesn’t end up with a lawsuit. Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said protocol was followed.

“This could withstand a challenge in court, we did everything the right way,” Guinasso said.

“I tried to send this to committee (last week), but no one would listen to me.”

This week the council also received a legal opinion from City Solicitor Paul Capizzi regarding a potential ban. Capizzi said the council may ban the sale of recreational marijuana in Revere, but it may not prevent an already license medical marijuana facility from converting to a recreational marijuana facility.

“Please bare in mind this is new territory,” Capizzi said.

Capizzi went on to say that communities like Revere, which voted against Question 4 on the Nov. 2016 ballot. But 10,184 Revere voters disapproved and the question failed in the city. Some thought that because it failed locally that the city would not be subjected to shops selling recreational marijuana.

One concern the council has is the medical marijuana facility on Railroad Avenue, which has been licensed for medical marijuana and legally may convert to selling recreational marijuana. The law allows for a local surcharge of up to 3 percent on the sales of recreational marijuana.

“I’m glad this will go to a public hearing,” said Councillor Jessica Gianinno. “Last week was too quick.”

“In the future we should take a step back, and let it go to committee where we’d discuss it with the solicitor,” Zambuto said.

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