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Municipal Guidance Article: North Adams

The draft, which was agreed to Wednesday by the city’s retail marijuana zoning working group, leaves available commercial areas along Curran Memorial Highway and State Road for licensed marijuana establishments — as long as they are licensed and receive a special permit approval from the Planning Board — though even those roads have a number of parks and buildings that require a 500-foot buffer.

The City Council and Planning Board will have to decide if the draft is too restrictive based on state guidelines, according to Community Development Director Larysa Bernstein.

“It is legal and we’re not questioning the legality of it,” Bernstein said.

Marijuana would be banned in the city’s residential and rural zones. Retail operations would be permitted in the city’s commercial and industrial zones, while nonretail operations like manufacturing and testing facilities would be limited to industrial zones. There would be no on-site consumption.

The draft regulations will now be sent to the City Council, which is expected to review the proposal and hold another public hearing.

Mayor Thomas Bernard formed the working group and proposed a timeline that aims to have marijuana zoning ordinances passed in time for the issuing of state licenses in April.

The draft proposed by the working group calls for a 500-foot buffer zone around “playgrounds, youth services programs, day care centers, youth sports facilities, dance schools and gymnastic schools,” and the group agreed to add places of worship on Wednesday.