Nighttime photograph of the Boston Gardens.

Bill Damon

Boston Regulators Approve Cannabis Zoning Rules

The Boston, Massachusetts Zoning Commission has approved regulations that will allow retail cannabis businesses to operate in any of the city’s business districts, the Boston Globe reports. The rules neither allow cannabis businesses from opening within a half-mile from one another, nor within 500 feet from kindergarten, elementary, or secondary schools.

City officials have said business owners could seek an exception to the half-mile rule through the Zoning Board of Appeals and estimated there could be as many as 56 cannabis dispensaries dispersed throughout Beantown.

Some advocates argue the half-mile buffer zone will create geographic monopolies. Ethan Vogt, head of Home Grown Boston, suggested the buffer would stymie competition.

Prime real estate is already off limits due to current operators who are also seeking recreational licenses. For example, the Patriot Care dispensary on Milk Street would implement a buffer zone in much of downtown, the waterfront, Chinatown, the North End and parts of Beacon Hill.

Laury Lucien, a black entrepreneur and attorney, said the buffer zone favors white-owned businesses already entrenched in the city.

The regulations were created by the administration of Mayor Martin Walsh, who did not support the recreational cannabis ballot initiative.

Legal cannabis sales are expected to begin in Massachusetts July 1.

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