Bill Damon

Boston MMJ Advocacy Group Complaint Leads to City Council Process Changes   

Boston medical marijuana advocates say the City Council broke state open meeting laws by failing to provide the public 48-hour notice before a vote that ultimately approved buffer zone regulations for dispensaries, according to a Boston Globe report.

The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance accused the council of violating the law, prompting the city’s Law Department to send a letter to the state attorney general’s office acknowledging the “mistake.”    

In the letter, Adam Cedarbaum, on behalf of Law Department, said a typographical error was responsible for the wrong item being copied onto the agenda. City Council agendas will now be inspected by a proofreader to reduce future mistakes.

The city clerk caught the error and corrected the online version about 90 minutes after the agenda was posted, the letter said.

In their complaint, the patient group asked that the council take another vote on the plan and allow the customary public comment period. Instead, the Law Department proposed the group be given “ample notice of any opportunity to provide comment before any city commission or agency takes a binding vote or recommendation on the matter.”

The group will consult its advisory board before taking additional steps, Nichole Snow, executive director of the alliance said.

The measure would require dispensaries to be at least a half a mile apart. It would have to be approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Zoning Commission, and signed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh (D), to take effect.       

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