Bills Expand Cannabis Shop Exclusion Zones
The Berkshire Eagle reports marijuana businesses already are prohibited near schools, and hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs turned out Tuesday to oppose bills that would add houses of worship, day care centers and places where children might congregate to the list of places marijuana companies must stay away from.
State law bans marijuana establishments from being "located within 500 feet of a pre-existing public or private school providing education in kindergarten or any of grades 1 through 12." Bills H.3527, filed by Rep. Hannah Kane, and S.1122, filed by Sen. Joseph Boncore at the request of a constituent, would add to that list any "day care center, or any facility in which children commonly congregate," and "church, synagogue temple or place of worship."
Chauncy Spencer, a Boston resident who is working to open a cannabis retail store in the city, told the Committee on Cannabis Policy that the bills would severely limit where his company could operate.
Equity is a central component of the marijuana law passed by voters in 2016 and the law as rewritten by the Legislature the following year. The law mandates that the Cannabis Control Commission adopt "procedures and policies to promote and encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities."
John Scheft, an attorney appointed by Attorney General Maura Healey to serve on the state's special commission related to drugged driving, said he supports the more restrictive zoning for marijuana companies.