City Council Votes to Begin Developing Marijuana Regulations
Cambridge residents visited various polling stations on Tuesday to vote for the city council. The Cambridge City Council voted unanimously to begin working on new laws and regulations regarding recreational cannabis at a meeting Monday.
The policy order, authored by Councillor Quinton Zondervan and Councillor Sumbul Siddiqui, addresses the need to enact policies regulating retail cannabis given statewide sales of recreational marijuana are set to be legalized on July 1. Recreational marijuana stores must apply for a license from the state Cannabis Control Commission by April 1.
Recreational marijuana was legalized across Massachusetts via a state ballot question, approved Nov. 2016 and effective Dec. 2016. Two years later, cities are finally starting to grapple with the new law, Councillor Craig Kelley said.
“It is something completely new for us to try and figure out,” Kelley said at the Monday meeting. “Where does it go? How do we fit these new uses, these new regulations, these new parts of an economy?”
The policy order adopted by the City Council begins to answer some questions surrounding implementation. Cambridge should enact “zoning and licensing” laws regulating marijuana stores while correcting previous “racial and economic injustices,” the order states.
One such issue stems from the use of the word “marijuana,” according to the order. The municipal legislation outlines what it dubbed the term’s “racist” origins in the early 20th century after former Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger began using the word to falsely associate cannabis with Latino immigrants.
In response to this historical context, the council ordered that the City of Cambridge use the word “cannabis” when referring to the drug in official documentation.
The order also referenced a 2001-2010 ACLU study citing over 8 million arrests associated with marijuana. The report found a black person