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Municipal article guidance: Leominister

“We’re on track to get this zoning amendment moving forward right now so we should have something in place by mid to late spring and have everything,” city Planning Director Kristen Kelly said Tuesday.

Kelly’s remarks came after Monday’s Planning Board meeting, where members discussed possible consequences to allowing recreational marijuana facilities to open in Leominster, following U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling saying last month that he could not guarantee that participants in the state-level marijuana trade would be immune from federal prosecution because it is still illegal under federal law.

This, according to Kelly, had been a concerning “gray area” going into Monday’s meeting, however a legal opinion from the city’s attorneys did provide some assurances to board members.

“The feedback from [our attorneys] was that the city is not involved in the licensing process, that would be the Cannabis Control Commission. We’re lower on the chain for responsibility in activities that could be illegal,” she said. “They weren’t able to say ‘No, you won’t ever have a problem with the U.S. Attorney’s Office,’ but it’s unlikely. It would be great if we could have more solid information, but the whole thing is obviously fluid right now and we have to put something in place to protect the city.

Planning Board Chairman John Souza said Tuesday that he didn’t think the city was at risk for federal prosecution by allowing recreational marijuana facilities into Leominster.

“The general consensus we had is that because the state has a commission the city wouldn’t be involved,” he said. “We’re doing this because the people voted for it and there’s a law in the state that says we have to do specific things and start accepting applications.”