Boston Globe, Dan Adams and Margeaux Sippell, March 17, 2018

Marijuana companies will be banned from a majority of cities and towns in Massachusetts when recreational sales begin this summer, a Globe review has found, the latest indication that there will be fewer pot stores in the early going than many consumers expected.

At least 189 of the state’s 351 municipalities have barred retail marijuana stores and, in most cases, cultivation facilities and other cannabis operations, too, according to local news reports, municipal records, and data collected by the office of Attorney General Maura Healey.

Fifty-nine of the local bans on marijuana businesses are indefinite. The remaining 130 are temporary moratoriums designed to buy local officials time to set up marijuana zoning rules. Many expire on July 1, and the rest are due to end later this year.

Still, for marijuana companies hoping to get in on the ground floor of the lucrative, newly legal industry, that means more than half of the state’s municipalities are off-limits as they scout for locations this spring.
For the state, it could mean falling short of the $44 million to $82 million in annual revenue it expected to collect from the 17 percent tax on pot sales.

“There are definitely people who say, ‘Yeah, I want it legal, but I don’t want it next door,’” said Adam Chapdelaine, the town manager of Arlington, where residents will soon vote on whether to extend through December a moratorium that was due to expire in June.

Other communities, such as Lawrence, have implemented bans over fears that adding marijuana to the mix will exacerbate their opioid problems. Elsewhere, local officials have cited the prospect of upticks in stoned driving and youth drug use, or simply remain opposed to legalization in the first place.


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