Marijuana Proposals Reviewed at Tuesday's Forum
City Councilor at large, Afroz Khan, organized this public forum to discuss the marijuana related proposals currently being reviewed by city council committees.
The first proposal is an order that would give Newburyport residents another chance to vote through a special ballot on whether or not they want marijuana shops in the city. Additionally, there is a proposed zoning amendment to allow marijuana retail shops on Storey Avenue, at the Route 1 traffic circle, and in the downtown business district. The council's Budget and Finance Committee is discussing another proposal to enact a local sales tax of 3% on recreational marijuana.
Guest speaker David Lakeman, Director of Government Affairs for the Commonwealth's Cannabis Control Commission, addressed how the city has the option of limiting the number of retail marijuana establishments to 20% of its liquor stores which would allow up to four locations to open. Guest speaker, Jim Borghesani, a marijuana consultant and spokesman for the 2016 ballot campaign to legalize use of the drug, highlighted that the marijuana retail industry could become Newburyport's second-largest tax revenue source. He also addressed how the retail market would begin the transition from an illegal drug market to a legal market that's regulated by local and state officials.
Councilor at large, Heather Shand, said that the City Council will continue to hold meetings to discuss marijuana related maters, and encourages residents to reach out to councilors with questions.