City Looking at Moratorium, Zoning Restrictions to Replace Pot Shop Ban
The Attorney General's office says that while an outright ban on medical marijuana undermines the new law, placing a temporary ban until state regulations are decided or simply placing zoning restrictions on facilities are legal alternatives.
Mayor Ted Bettencourt, faced with the possibility of the city's new ban on medical marijuana dispensaries being struck down, says he's considering a moratorium instead until state health officials put regulations in place this spring.
Attorney General Martha Coakley released a decision last week that found Wakefield's ban on medical marijuana in conflict with the state law approved by voters in November. Peabody's ban is very similar to Wakefield's.
Coakley said cities and towns cannot enact outright bans, but rather limit such facilities to certain areas through zoning or impose a moratorium until regulations are in place.
Bettencourt tells the Salem News the city's lawyers are reviewing the matter and the City Council may also revisit a zoning amendment to restrict where treatment centers could operate in the city.