Lee OKs Main Street ban on retail marijuana
By Dick Lindsay, The Berkshire Eagle
LEE — You can get almost anything on Main Street — except cannabis.
Representatives at Thursday’s annual town meeting unanimously adopted a recreational marijuana zoning bylaw that excludes retail pot shops from the downtown business district.
The boundary runs from Park Street to West Center Street via Main and between High Street and the Housatonic River.
Planning Board member Buck Donovan led the charge on the town meeting floor to remove the downtown from the originally proposed bylaw, mainly to ensure passage. A two-thirds majority approval by town meeting representatives was unlikely unless the proposal was revised, Donovan noted. While the amendment passed by a 33-10 margin, all the representatives ended up backing the amended bylaw.
A proponent of the original bylaw, Donovan said he offered the amendment knowing most representatives are already against allowing marijuana sales in the Main Street area.
“If the moratorium ends without the zoning, it would put a lot of stress on the town,” he told The Eagle.
Lee had until Sept. 30, when its moratorium expires, to pass zoning for recreational marijuana, or those businesses could go anywhere in town as long as they meet current zoning regulations.”Without this vote, [Lee] becomes the Wild West,” Select Board Chairman David Consolati said addressing the meeting.
The bylaw does permit retail sales from Park Street to the Massachusetts Turnpike, via Housatonic Street, continuing east on Route 20, ending at Forest Street.
The regulation also allows recreational stores along Route 102, from just past the Quarry Hill Business Park to the Stockbridge town line.
Lee will allow at most two retail stores whose hours of operation must be between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, except Sunday, between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Under the bylaw, nonretail marijuana businesses such as research, testing, cultivation and manufacturing facilities would be allowed in