Council Addresses Recreational Marijuana

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

The Revere City Council held a public hearing on a proposed ordinance Monday night for the placement of a recreational marijuana shop and the Planning Board was expected to discuss the ordinance at its meeting late Tuesday afternoon.

Voters approved the law to make recreational marijuana legal back in November and it became law in December. But the state law leaves it up to the cities and towns as to where these recreational retail facilities can go.

The revised ordinances ordinance for the city adds a definition of a “recreational marijuana facility” which is a “business that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments) transfers, transports, sell, distributes, dispenses or administers marijuana products containing marijuana and related supplies.”

The ordinance also spells out where in the city marijuana can be sold.

Recreational marijuana facilities cannot be located closer than 400-feet from residential uses, parks and playgrounds including areas of critical environmental concern such as schools, buildings and structures used for religious purposes and public schools.

At the City Council meeting Sylvia Chiang from Revere Cares said her concern centers around the substance use prevention work Revere Cares does. She said having a recreational marijuana shop creates public safety issues. She also said the proposed marijuana tax is too low, she is concerned about marijuana edibles, limiting advertising and reducing the number of plants people are allowed to grow.

“The community can opt out (of the law) with a majority vote of the voters before April 1, 2018,” Chiang said.

Under the law Revere would be able to have two recreational marijuana facilities. Chiang also asked the council to factor in the distance between shops in the TED district.

School Committee member Carol Tye said she wishes the city would opt out of the law.

Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said that because the city has approved the medical marijuana facility owned by the Wellness Connection that the city cannot opt out of the law.

Ward 5 Councillor Arthur Guinasso compared the marijuana ordinance to the adult entertainment laws. While the Squire Lounge may not be popular with everyone there is a place to put that type of business.

“This is proactive and prevents any future action in court,” he said. “This is a safeguard for our community.”

During the public hearing Attorney Phil Boncore, representing Mario Chiuccariello Jr., who wants to bring a second medical marijuana facility to Revere at 1214 Furlong Road, said they were neither for or against the ordinance but they did want to have the ordinance allow for 100 feet between marijuana facilities in the TED district.

The council sent the ordinance to the Zoning Subcommittee.

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