Pot shops face bans in most of Mass.
By Dan Adams and Margeaux Sippell Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent March 17, 2018
Marijuana companies will be banned from a majority of cities and towns in Massachusetts when recreational sales begin this summer, a Globe review has found, the latest indication that there will be fewer pot stores in the early going than many consumers expected.
At least 189 of the state’s 351 municipalities have barred retail marijuana stores and, in most cases, cultivation facilities and other cannabis operations, too, according to local news reports, municipal records, and data collected by the office of Attorney General Maura Healey.
Fifty-nine of the local bans on marijuana businesses are indefinite. The remaining 130 are temporary moratoriums designed to buy local officials time to set up marijuana zoning rules. Many expire on July 1, and the rest are due to end later this year.
Still, for marijuana companies hoping to get in on the ground floor of the lucrative, newly legal industry, that means more than half of the state’s municipalities are off-limits as they scout for locations this spring.
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“Communities right now are going extremely slowly on this whole process,” said Jim Smith, a Boston attorney whose firm represents cannabis companies seeking host municipalities. “By Labor Day, I can’t imagine there will be more than half a dozen stores. I’m concerned, because the public expects something different.”
For consumers, this means that only a handful of pot shops are likely to be open in July, when state officials have promised the recreational market will debut — most likely, existing medical dispensaries that win a recreational license.
For the state, it could mean falling short of