Tonight I attended the joint meeting of the Planning Board and the members of the Planning and Development Committee of the City Council. The topic of interest for me was the creation of Medical Marijuana overlay zones in Newburyport. As I have posted in the past, the city was offering two zones for discussion; the Cabot Stain property and a back section of the industrial park. For clarification, the city does not need to create these zones but it is prudent to do so. It is important for our city to maintain control over where these businesses are located. The alternative is not desirable.
There was a great discussion during the meeting and they covered many of my personal concerns. One issue that needs to be resolved is whether a city can choose between having just a dispensary or just a cultivation facility or do we have to be open to both? I believe the city’s attorneys will be consulted and the AG office will be called.
During the public comment portion of the meeting I was able to talk about my concerns about the Cabot Stain property. The “perfect storm” in my opinion is that the State forces Newburyport to be open to a dispensary and Cabot Stain becomes the desired location. Here is the rub, since selling and distributing Marijuana is against Federal law many banks will not work with these companies so this has the potential to become a cash business. A large cash business that could invite robbery which frequently happens in California dispensaries. The thought of this happening so close to the residents of Hale Street and Squires Glen is too much. I asked the Planning Board to consider removing Cabot Stain from the ordinance as a possible dispensary location.
In the end it was decided to propose a sole overlay district in the industrial park for the cultivation of Medical Marijuana only. I was happy with this decision. Now we will see what the full Council and the State AG’s office thinks about this decision.