Not in my backyard: Mass. communities hope to shut out local pot shops
A number of cities and towns are exploring ways to limit or even snuff out marijuana shops in their communities, less than a week after voters legalized the drug for recreational use in Massachusetts.
Some local officials worry that a profusion of marijuana stores will turn quaint New England downtowns into drug havens. Others are concerned the shops will crowd along the New Hampshire state line, luring unwanted out-of-state customers and clogging the streets with impaired drivers.
“I’m dead set against it,” said Mayor Stephen N. Zanni of Methuen, who wants to ban marijuana retailers from opening in his city, where 52 percent of local voters opposed the ballot question. “I don’t think it’s an appropriate fit here for our community.”
The emerging rebellion has marijuana advocates worried that municipal officials are acting rashly to restrain sales of the drug, even though voters statewide just approved Question 4 by a decisive 54 percent to 46 percent.
“I would not want to see a handful of town officials controvert the vote of the people of Massachusetts,” said Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for the legalization campaign. “What we don’t support is rushing out of the gate out of paranoia and hysteria.”
Under the law, recreational use of the drug will become legal on Dec. 15, and marijuana shops can open in January 2018.
Photo credit: John Blanding/Globe Staff