Boston Council Approves Restrictive MJ Retail Zoning Law

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Real estate in Boston for marijuana retailers – both medical and recreational – could become a more precious commodity under a new zoning ordinance approved by the city council this week.

The new ordinance would require dispensaries (and rec shops, in the event that the state legalizes adult use cannabis in November) to be at least a half mile away from each other, according to the Boston Globe. The reason behind it, councilman Michael Flaherty said, is to make sure that cannabis storefronts are not concentrated in any part of the city.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, an outspoken opponent of marijuana legalization, must approve the measure, along with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Zoning Commission.

Nichole Snow, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, said patients are worried what affect the buffer zone would have on medical marijuana dispensaries’ ability to find real estate on which to locate.

So far, there are only six dispensaries in the whole state and none in Boston. At the same time, a proposal legalizing recreational marijuana seems likely to be on the state ballot in November. If voters pass it, patients worry that rec stores will take up available locations and crowd out dispensaries.