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Massachusetts moratoriums may mean long drives for legal marijuana

Massachusetts moratoriums may mean long drives for legal marijuana

  • Published: Nov 13, 2017, 11:05 am • Updated: Nov 13, 2017, 11:18 am By Chris Lisinski,  lowell Sun LOWELL, Mass. — Although retail sales of recreational marijuana can begin in July, many customers across northern Massachusetts may have to travel significant distances or wait several months to acquire the substance….
  • Moratoriums are becoming widespread, with many towns opting to block any recreational marijuana businesses into late 2018 as a way to buy time for developing zoning and regulation plans.
  • As a result, only a handful of towns in northern Massachusetts will be able to join the initial wave of recreational sales, a trend that legal marijuana advocates say could have lasting economic repercussions.
  • Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand said the dispensary’s interest created a unique situation: A ban or moratorium on retail sales would not have prevented CACC from seeking a recreational permit, and selectmen felt that taking no action at all ahead of the summer would create a “free for all” in town….
  • Pontbriand said zoning would balance opportunity with caution, allowing Ayer to reap the economic benefits — municipalities can collect a 3 percent tax on recreational sales, and given the lack of businesses in other communities, Ayer is sure to attract wide interest — while still enforcing some limitations.

Although retail sales of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts begin in July, many customers may have to travel significant distances or wait months.

Published: Nov 13, 2017, 11:05 am • Updated: Nov 13, 2017, 11:18 am By Chris Lisinski,  lowell Sun LOWELL, Mass. — Although retail sales of recreational marijuana can begin in July, many customers across northern Massachusetts may have to travel significant distances or wait several months to acquire the substance.

Moratoriums are becoming widespread, with many towns opting to block any recreational marijuana businesses into late 2018 as a way to buy time for developing zoning and regulation plans. Some, as allowed under the state law legalizing the drug, have opted instead for outright, permanent bans on the businesses.

As a result, only a handful of towns in northern Massachusetts will be able to join the initial wave of recreational sales, a trend that legal marijuana advocates say could have lasting economic repercussions.

Last November, voters across the state approved Question 4, legalizing recreational marijuana, before the Legislature approved some changes regarding local control to the law. The state Cannabis Control Commission is expected to issue regulations in March and allow sales to begin in July.

However, a review of 39 municipalities around Lowell and Fitchburg found that large portions of the area will not be ready or willing to allow sales to begin next summer.

Roughly a third of towns examined have enacted moratoriums through November or December 2018, most of which have been approved at Town Meetings in recent weeks. Several other towns will vote on similar policies…

Massachusetts moratoriums may mean long drives for legal marijuana

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