A stone fence on a grey day in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Tim Sackton

Massachusetts Municipalities Passing Rec. Business Bans Despite Local Support

At least 81 Massachusetts communities have considered or already established restrictions on the nascent recreational cannabis industry, using moratoriums, zoning regulations, or outright bans to stem industry operations, WCVB-5 reports. According to the report, 33 towns in which voters favored legalizing cannabis for adult use in last year’s General Election have taken steps to bar cannabis business operations.

In total, 25 municipalities have enacted outright bans, and six of those voted in favor of legalization. Another 46 have enacted moratoriums; and voters in 27 of those communities approved legalization plans. Five other communities have imposed zoning regulations on cannabis businesses, and four of those towns voted in favor of legalization. Three other cities are considering actions to restrict recreational cannabis operations.

In December, one month after voters in the state approved the adult-use ballot question by a narrow 3.6 percent margin, state lawmakers moved to delay the opening of retail dispensaries from January to July 2018. A House and Senate Committee on Marijuana Policy was convened in February that could re-write portions of the law over concerns about public safety, tax structure, and the number of plants allowed in home grows.

In March, the legislature approved $300,000 for the implementation of the regime. The state Department of Revenue has estimated that the legal cannabis market could generate as much as $64 million in tax revenues during its first year.

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