Taunton City Council takes on recreational pot issue
Charles Winokoor Taunton Gazette Staff Reporter @cwinokoor
TAUNTON – The City Council voted Tuesday night to try to get a jump on how it eventually will deal with regulating sales of recreational marijuana within city limits.
There’s already a city-wide moratorium on the sale of recreational weed in effect until the end of the calendar year. The council approved that measure in 2017.
The idea then was to give the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission a head start to establish ground rules, around which Taunton could then formulate its own legal parameters in terms of placement and location.
The cannabis commission is due to finalize and submit its 107-page draft of regulations by March 15 — which will include types of recreational establishments, potentially ranging from cafes and restaurants to marijuana movie theaters and yoga studios.
Recreational marijuana retail establishments in the Bay State will be allowed to open by July 1.
Taunton’s City Planner Kevin Scanlon suggested that the council schedule a meeting to discuss the issue with Police Chief Edward Walsh, City Solicitor Jason D. Buffington, Mayor Thomas Hoye Jr. and members of the city’s health board.
“You can at least have a good discussion (and) decide what you want,” Scanlon said.
Massachusetts law regarding sale and use of recreational marijuana allows retail operations selling medical marijuana to also sell recreational pot.
It also stipulates that the number of recreational retail stores can equal up to 20 percent the number of liquor stores doing business within each municipality.
The full council voted to schedule a follow-up meeting, as recommended by Scanlon, and to send a letter to the marijuana commission asking them to pay a visit to discuss the topic and answer questions from councilors.
Councilors Jeanne Quinn and Barry Sanders voted against the measure, which was proposed by council