Lakeville, Massachusetts bid to stop retail marijuana sales fails

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Retail stores could soon come to Lakeville, Massachusetts

A Special Town Meeting was held recently in Lakeville, Massachusetts to discuss a number of issues. One of the items on the agenda was a resident-led petition that hoped to ban recreational marijuana business from zoning bylaws. By the time the meeting was adjourned, the City Council had decided that the petition wasn’t strong enough and, now, it appears that retail marijuana shops could soon pop up within city limits.

The petition sought to overturn zoning bylaw changes that were approved at the Annual Town Meeting held earlier this year. Those changes authorized marijuana retail and production businesses to be opened in all of Lakeville’s industrial zones. Opponents to the measure argued that area residents don’t want recreational marijuana in the city, as evidenced by the fact that they voted against the referendum in the state election by an 80% margin.

Going forward, individual communities will be allowed to vote on local zoning restrictions for marijuana businesses and can choose to ban retail sales completely. In the absence of zoning regulations, recreational businesses will be able to launch their enterprises in any district that offers similar retail businesses.

The petition was denied by a vote of 54 to 81. For it to have been accepted, it needed at least two-thirds of the vote. At the Annual Town Meeting earlier in the year, the zoning bylaw changes were approved by a vote of 75 to 27, barely surpassing the two-thirds requirement.