Albright: Our marijuana zoning ordinance was done with care to protect our citizens

Albright: Our marijuana zoning ordinance was done with care to protect our citizens

Newton City Councilor Susan Albright, who is chair of the council’s Zoning & Planning committee, had some enlightening comments on an earlier thread about the research she conducted in her role as chair of the committee charged with determining where adult use recreational marijuana shops could locate, if Newton voters reject the Opt-Out referendum Tuesday. It seemed interesting and timely, so I republishing most of it here.

I have talked to many people from states that currently allow adult use. I asked one woman in the Dept of Public Health in Oregon (whom I had called to find data on teenage use) whether there was an adult use shop in her town. She said yes – I asked her what happened there, was she scared to go there? Were there kids hanging around? Were the police frequently called? Was there Trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for Pool? (sorry I didn’t ask her about Pool). I wanted to get a sense for how she felt about this shop. She said she never went there but it was totally quiet and caused no problems in the town. I got similar answers from whomever i called, including the son of one of my Tufts college friends who works in one in Denver.

I imagine this is what life was like when they were deciding to prohibit liquor. The prohibitionists scared the public that liquor was the foundation of all our problems and the ruination of society – hence we got prohibition. And then had it undone years later.

Our marijuana zoning ordinance was done with care to protect our citizens and to put a store – which is what an adult use shop is – in a place where it was appropriate.

Where would Newton’s marijuana shops be located?

Where would Newton’s marijuana shops be located?

Often lost in the debate over whether or not adult-use recreational marijuana shops should operate in Newton is the fact that there aren’t very many properties where these stores can exist under the city’s proposed zoning.

Yes, I know zoning deliberations make most people’s heads ache. Mine included. But, if you have not yet dug into this, it’s worth understanding.

The first thing you need to know is that you should not expect to find these adult-only shops in Newton’s village centers. The next thing you should know is that under state law, consuming cannabis inside or in front of one of these stores is a crime.

Unlike liquor stores, which of course exist in our village centers, these shops will have bunker-like exteriors, intense security and state-mandated safeguards. You must show an ID before you’re allowed to enter a secure showroom. You must show it again when you

Pot shop ban would cost city lost tax revenue

Here’s Greg Reibman’s column about the potential fiscal impact of a proposed ban on recreational marijuana stores here, as it appears on the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber’s website. 

A ballot referendum that would ban the sale of adult-use recreational marijuana in Newton would result in the loss of millions of dollars annually in local tax revenue, according to city projections.

Given the nascent nature of the marijuana industry, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how much revenue could be on the table. However, the revenue from a three percent local recreational marijuana tax and up to three percent in local host agreements could yield over $2 million and perhaps more, said Jonathan Yeo, chief operating officer for the City of Newton.

“These new dollars could potentially equal or exceed the [$1.95 million] Newton now collects annually from the local meals taxes from 400 restaurants,” Yeo said.

Marijuana Retail Zoning Ordinance

Marijuana Retail Zoning Ordinance

          There are misleading ads and literature circulating about where retail adult-use marijuana retail stores may be sited in Newton. There are only a few sites that have been approved by Zoning and Planning for the Planning Department. On September 18, 2018,...

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