Pawtucket City council to take up marijuana legislation
PAWTUCKET – The City Council’s ordinance subcommittee is set to take up an ordinance governing growing and sales of marijuana within city limits.
At its meeting tonight, Wednesday, June 20, the committee will consider a measure passed by the City Planning Committee back in January.
Jay Rosa, senior planner in the Planning and Redevelopment Department, said Monday that the version up for consideration tonight is unchanged from when planners approved it.
Councilor Terry Mercer, who heads up the ordinance committee, said he spoke with city officials and doesn’t expect much controversy with the new rules, which have been in the works for years. According to state law, there are “only certain aspects or conditions” that municipalities can put in place relative to zoning and other matters related to marijuana growing, he said, “and I think this ordinance does what it is that we can do …”
Rosa previously said that the ordinance is designed to allow would-be marijuana growers a path to do business if they apply for and receive a special use permit through the Pawtucket Zoning Board. The proposal was put together based on successful ordinances in other Rhode Island communities, using input from Mayor Donald Grebien’s Medical Marijuana Task Force, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Department of Business Regulation, among others.
The city has already approved a number of applications from companies seeking to grow marijuana in Pawtucket’s industrial areas, but those companies can’t operate until they wade through the backlog at the state level.
Many companies are trying to earn a slice of the pie by being one of the suppliers to Rhode Island’s three medical marijuana dispensaries, which provide marijuana to more than 15,000 patients. Advocates for marijuana use have criticized state lawmakers for neglecting to expand the number of compassion