Mayor Wants Peabody City Council To Move On Marijuana Ban
PEABODY, MA — Peabody City Council needs to move quicker to establish a marijuana ban in the city, according to Mayor Ted Bettencourt. In a March 1 letter to the body that will be reviewed by Council at its next meeting on Thursday, Bettencourt called for the city’s lawmaking body to schedule a meeting as soon as possible. Bettencourt also clearly advocated banning all recreational marijuana establishments in the city.
“As you know, Massachusetts voters approved the [2016 state referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use] while the Peabody electorate opposed it by a significant margin. It is with great trepidation we must confront recreational use of marijuana,” Bettencourt wrote. “Based on our city’s results, as well as a myriad of concerns relative to public safety and law enforcement, I strongly urge City Council to vote to ban any and all recreational marijuana operations in Peabody.”
In Peabody, 14,973 voters, or 54%, opposed Question 4 in the 2016 election while 12,770 voters, or 46%, supported it. Statewide, the measure passed by a margin of 1,745,394 to 1,511,747. Last year the state legislature passed a “compromise bill” that reworked the law to address concerns in the original language of the law. One of the biggest changes in the compromise bill was giving towns where the measure failed more leeway to ban recreational marijuana sales.
City Council has not taken action on a zoning amendment to pan recreational marijuana facilities, which was first presented in November. Municipalities throughout the state have been trying to finalize local marijuana ordinances before the state finalizes its own rules, which are expected this summer.
By panning recreational pot sales, Peabody would lose its chance to collect a three percent, local sales tax on recreational marijuana sales. And it may prove even more costly: backers of recreational marijuana want to penalize towns