Grow, Gift, Repair


While no official vote by the Board was had, it looks like Melrose will be limited to one retail marijuana store, which would be restricted to Route 99 and very possibly could occupy the same space as the medical marijuana store in operation. The Planning Board’s suggestion was to cap the number of retail stores at two – with the potential of the second sprouting in Melrose’s downtown – but a late amendment looked to cap it at just the Route 99 one.

The Board of Aldermen did not take a vote on the amendment as they wanted to eyeball the amended ordinance with rested eyes. The meeting ended more than four hours after it started.

The decision late Monday night came in front of what was at times a standing room-only crowd at the Aldermanic Chambers in City Hall (including someone wielding a local TV station camera, if you’re wondering how big this was.) After a few hours of discussion, the Board’s ultimate call was to pause, take a breath … and not inhale.

“Once this is instituted, it won’t go away,” Alderman Peter Mortimer, who filed the initial order to restrict the retail marijuana store to Route 99, said. That order was put on file as an amendment by Aldermen Mike Zwirko made it redundant.

Mucking things up was the Planning Board’s proposal tucked into the amendment stating a marijuana cultivator, manufacturer, research facility and testing lab, and transportation and distribution facility could pop up anywhere in the city. Some aldermen appeared taken aback by that, and the Board is expected to make another amendment to address it before they finally vote next week. Monday night’s work was largely done by the Appropriation Committee – which is a committee of the whole and a reliable precursor of the Board’s actions.

The votes mostly put to a rest, for now, a lively discussion about how Melrose should navigate a business that is unfolding before our eyes.