Phillips & Angley

Zoning laws could limit marijuana distribution

With a marijuana industry booming across the country, many states and cities seem to be eager to get in on the action. Boston is no exception, but city councilors will have to decide how it will be impacted by land use and zoning laws. Nothing specific exists for marijuana sales yet, however, there are proponents who argue that there should be zoning regulations for where these marijuana shops can be set up and conduct business. If it's within a significant proximity to drug rehab or a treatment facility, the sale of marijuana could be banned.

This is what's known as a zoning regulation. Proponents argue that there shouldn't be marijuana readily for sale so near to a treatment facility. For those who struggle with drug addiction, it's understandable why some may make this argument. However, most of the concern is about opioid addiction, one of the most debilitating issues of the American public in recent years.

Boston wants to get into marijuana sale, but further 'red tape' with a buffer zone associated with treatment facilities could make it more difficult for people to get it off the ground. Because Boston isn't large, there could be any number of treatment facilities within a meaningful distance of any dispensary. The city is making an effort to make getting into the marijuana business an equal opportunity for minorities and people of color.

There is no saying how this will shake out. City council will hear arguments from both sides before coming to a decision. Ideally, the city will eventually contain 56 dispensaries. While it has yet to have one. Without hard data about how dispensaries impact patients at nearby treatment centers, it may end up being a more 'wait and see' approach.

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