Brockton weed update: Pot approval process winding down – News – The Enterprise, Brockton, MA

The city of Brockton continues move ahead with the recreational marijuana approval process, with an Ordinance Committee meeting scheduled for Dec. 18, when a zoning proposal is expected to be voted on.

BROCKTON – The local approval process in Brockton for the state-legalized weed business is winding down.

The city of Brockton continues move ahead with the recreational marijuana approval process, with a City Council Ordinance Committee meeting scheduled for Dec. 18, when a zoning proposal is expected to be voted on. City Councilor At-large Winthrop Farwell, who is a member of the five-person Ordinance Committee, said he expects that the zoning proposal may limit two retail marijuana stores to the downtown business district, while allowing four others in C-2 commercial zones or industrial zones, along with two existing medical marijuana permit holders on the West Chestnut Street that are expected to add recreational sales.

Previously, the City Council subcommittee approved licensing regulations as an ordinance to be used in the city, including a proposal to limit each business to one license each, and that proposal came before the City Council as a whole on Dec. 10 for a first reading and it will be up for a final vote on Dec. 27, Farwell said. The licensing regulations ordinance and the zoning ordinance now before the Ordinance Committee must be fully approved by City Council before Brockton applicants for recreational marijuana businesses can gain permits from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

Farwell said City Council is now on pace to have its recreational marijuana-related zoning and licensing ordinances completed by late January.

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“We’ve just methodically plodded through with great help of the City Solicitor’s Office and the City Council attorney, Shannon Resnick,” Farwell said. “I think that help really contributed to getting to us to where we are now. I have every expectation we will finalize the zoning component of retail and cultivation of marijuana products. By the end of January, you should have your work completed. Then it will be up to respective licensees to advance their applications to Cannabis Control Commission.”

Farwell, thanking Ordinance Committee chairperson Bob Sullivan and fellow Councilor At-large Moises Rodrigues, said he’s happy with how the licensing ordinance will allow City Council to be the authority that approves the local license that’s also needed by new marijuana shops, rather than leaving that to the unelected License Commission.

Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter, who originally called for limiting six new retail-only pot shops to the downtown business district, has criticized the Ordinance Committee for moving too slowly and overstepping their authority, when it comes to buffer zones and limiting one license to one business. Carpenter released his original proposals in March, before submitting an updated proposal in July that spread pot shops to other commercial zones. Brockton would receive a total of 6 percent of the revenue from retail marijuana shops in the city, a combination of a 3 percent tax and a 3 percent max host community impact agreement.

“These guys have been taking entirely too long,” said Carpenter, speaking to The Enterprise on Nov. 21.

Two recreational marijuana shops have already opened in Massachusetts, in Leicester and Northampton, and they have brought in a total of $7 million within three weeks, and third store is set to open this weekend in Salem, and four more stores recently received licenses, including one in Fall River.

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“As you can see, other communities are way ahead of us,” Carpenter said.

Farwell said that many of the naysayers criticizing Ordinance Committee for taking so long should look at the city of Boston, which is still deciding its own licensing and zoning practices, and they should also look at the more than 100 pages of state regulations concerning recreational marijuana.

“For those who think the process has been slow, they probably aren’t aware of all the reading, research and legal issues that had to be examined to do the right thing for the community,” Farwell said. “I understand the frustration, but the time has not been wasted. We’re trying to do what’s right for Brockton.”


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