By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Monday night the City Council voted to ban the sale of recreational marijuana.
“There are 100 communities looking to ban,” said Council Vice President Patrick Keefe, who filed the motion for the City Council and the Planning Board to implement a ban on the sale of recreational marijuana in Revere.
The motion was not sent to a council committee.
The sale of recreational marijuana was approved state-wide with Question 1 on the November 2016 ballot. But 10,184 Revere voters disapproved, and the question failed in the city. Some councillors thought that because it failed locally that the city would not be subjected to shops selling recreational marijuana. However, that is not the case and as a result the majority of the council voted for imposing the ban, with Councillors Jessica Gianinno and Ira Novselsky voting against the ban.
Novoselsky said he was surprised at the motion because the city has approved a medical marijuana facility.
“I’d like the opinion of the city solicitor,” Novoselsky said.
“The voters voted to deny this,” said Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso, who went on to say he’s heard of people smoking marijuana who are causing their neighbors to ingest the smoke. “Let’s go forward and have this council on the record as opposing it’s use.”
Ward 6 Councillor Charles Patch, who agreed there should be a legal opinion, said he too believed that when the city voted against recreational marijuana that the city could stop recreational marijuana businesses from coming into the city.
“A ban would be pro-active,” said Councillor Steve Morabito.
Councillor Anthony Zambuto said banning the sales would do nothing to keep marijuana out of Revere, and the city would lose 3 percent on revenue from sales.
This vote to ban the issue of recreational marijuana sales was compared to the issue of a costly lawsuit against Moon-Lite Reader, an adult bookstore that was denied approval.
School Committee member Carol Tye said she opposed the medical marijuana facility, and she was at the meeting to support Revere Cares, which also spoke in favor of the ban.
“We cannot put up a fence around Revere, but this is dark money and I don’t want it,” Tye said. “It’s a slippery slope from medical marijuana to recreational marijuana.”
She noted that by not going along with the voters choice, a message is sent that your vote (in 2016) didn’t matter. She too thought that the city voting against the recreational marijuana in 2016 meant that there would be no local shops.
Viviana Catano, of Revere Cares, was at the meeting representing Revere Parents in Action. She compared the ban of recreational marijuana to the ban of flavored tobacco products, and the appeal to children. One specific concern is marijuana edibles, such as brownies.
“Once the industry gets its claws in, it’s hard to regulate,” Catano said.
Beachmont resident Ed Deveau said the city is trying to overcome what the city was in the past.
“There are still too many questions,” Deveau said. “It may bring in money but it won’t help the image.”