Grow, Gift, Repair

Municipal guidance article: Newton

The Zoning and Planning Committee of the City Council will hold the public hearing on Monday, Feb. 12, at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205 at City Hall.

The Planning and Development Department is recommending that the City Council put a temporary moratorium in place so we have time to write new zoning after the complete regulations from the state Cannabis Control Commission are issued. The new zoning will regulate where and under what conditions the establishments should be allowed in Newton.

Under a state law passed by voters in 2016, state licensed establishments may start selling adult-use recreational marijuana in July 2018 (not just medicinal marijuana as prescribed by a physician). The state is currently drafting regulations for the licensing and operation of these establishments. Those regulations are expected to be issued by March 15. Then, on April 1, the state will begin accepting license applications.

Without a moratorium in place to allow time for specific zoning to be written, the city would have limited options to regulate these establishments.

If the City Council passes the temporary moratorium through the end of 2018, Newton would join the approximately 90 other Massachusetts communities which have enacted similar measures to give themselves time to consider zoning options.

A working group, including representatives from Mayor Ruthanne Fuller’s office, Planning and Development, Law, Health and Human Services, City Clerk, Police and City Councilor Greg Schwartz, has been meeting to study this issue. In addition, the Zoning and Planning Committee has been reviewing the City’s options.