Marijuana Dispensaries in Newton

Issue summary

In 2016, the voters of Newton approved the Ballot Question #4, legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana. In 2017, the State Legislature drafted legislation to better implement its enactment. In March of 2018, the City of Newton exercised its right of "local control" by putting in place a moratorium that provides the time for Newton to better define where (which zoning districts) and how (the rules and regulations) Recreational Marijuana Establishments will be sited within the city. Newton is  1 out of 110 municipalities within Massachusetts that have enacted moratoriums, with the overarching goal of reaching a better outcome for all within their respective communities.

Issue Update:

The City Council will be holding a Special Meeting this coming Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 7p in City Council Chamber to deliberate and vote out the following docket items with regard to ballot questions (on November 6, 2018 Ballot) as to whether or not the city of Newton will prohibit or limit the number of recreational marijuana establishments.

Update (092118):

There will be a special meeting of the City Council Monday September 24, 2018 at 7p in City Council Chamber to deliberate and vote out amendments to the  following docket items as reported out in this Special Docket page.

If you wish to express your views on this issue, please contact our Ward 5 city councilors (jrice@newtonma.gov, dcrossley@newtonma.gov, and/or adowns@newtonma.gov) or the full city council (citycouncil@newtonma.gov), respectively.

Issue full description

Please visit the following City of Newton webpages (by clicking on the green text below) for general information and to better understand how the City of Newton is complying with MA state law in providing for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMDs) as well as more recently for the siting of Recreational Marijuana Establishments within the city.

RMD Summary - Medical Marijuana Ordinance Amendment

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Newton Zoning Ordinance (relevant sections) 

The City Council has enacted a moratorium to better implement the zoning for the siting of Recreational Marijuana Establishments within the city.

Temporary Moratorium for the siting of Recreational Marijuana Establishments in Newton - (B-4) - March 5, 2018

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Here is the Zoning & Planning Committee (ZAP) docket item for the siting of the Recreational Marijuana Establishments.

#376‐18 Zoning amendment to regulate marijuana establishments  

THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT requesting amendments to the Newton Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 30, to regulate the use of land, structures and buildings for the operation of marijuana establishments; to determine in which zoning districts and under what conditions marijuana establishments will be allowed; and to establish minimum standards and criteria.  

This docket item was first discussed within the ZAP Committee in late June (Report & PD memo below). The docket item will be further discussed Monday, July 30th, 6:30p in City Hall Room 205. 

Zoning & Planning Committee Report (062518) #376-18 (at end of document) 

Planning Department Memorandum on #376-18 (at end of document) 

Zoning & Planning Agenda & Planning Department Memos (073018)

Public Hearing notice 

Public Hearings will be held on Monday,September 24,2018, at 7:00PM,Second Floor, NEWTON CITY HALL before the ZONING & PLANNING COMMITTEE and the PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT BOARD,for the purpose of hearing the following petitions at which time all parties interested in these items shall be heard.

At the beginning of this document is the Planning Departments Memorandum dated 092118 that has a draft of the Newton Ordinance language.

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Currently we have one RMD in Newton, Garden Remedies (697 Washington Street) that has been excluded from the Moratorium and is moving forward through the special permit process to convert to a Recreational Marijuana Establishment. 

Please note that the permitting of an RMD is required to go through the special permit process before the Land Use Committee, a subcommittee of the City Council.

#289-18 Special Permit Petition to amend Board Order #167-14 for Garden Remedies  

GARDEN REMEDIES, INC/697 WASHINGTON STREET REALTY TRUST petition for a SPECIAL PERMIT/SITE PLAN APPROVAL to amend Board Order #167-14 to allow the retail sale of recreational marijuana and medical marijuana, to delete Condition #3 relative to customer appointments, to amend Condition #4 to allow up to 12 employees at one time, to amend Condition #5 to modify the hours of operation, to expand the premises to include additional space, to allow waivers to perimeter screening requirements, to allow waivers to interior landscaping requirements, to allow waivers for parking facility requirements for; parking in the front setback, waivers to interior landscaping, waivers for interior planting area requirements, waivers to requirements for tree planting, waivers to requirements for bumper overhang area landscaping, waivers to requirements for 1-foot candle lighting, waivers for retaining walls over 4’ in height and a waiver for 5 parking stalls to the extent necessary in Ward 2, Newton at 697 Washington Street (Section 23 Block 19 Lot 01B), 691 Washington Street (Section 23 Block 19 Lot 01A), 681 Washington Street (Section 23 Block 19 Lot 01) and 2 Court Street (Section 23 Block 19 Lot 23), containing approximately 16,669 sq. ft. of land in a district zoned BUSINESS USE 2. Ref: 7.3.3, 7.4, 5.1.8.A.1, 5.1.13, 5.1.9.A, 5.1.9.B, 5.1.9.B.1, 5.1.9.B.2, 5.1.9.B.3, 5.1.9.B.4, 5.1.10.A.1, 5.4.2.B of the City of Newton Rev Zoning Ord, 2015.  

Action: Land Use Held 7-0 (Lipof not Voting); Public Hearing Closed June 26, 2018

 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018- Land Use Committee Meeting - City Hall, Chamber

8:00 PM Or Later

#289-18 Special Permit Petition to amend Board Order #167-14 for Garden Remedies 

              Planning Department Memorandum

              Garden Remedies - Responses to Questions

If unable to attend please consider viewing Land Use working session on NewTV - (Comcast 9 • RCN 13, 581 (HD) • Verizon 33).

Note:  The City Council is required to vote on a special permit request 90 days after the close of the public hearing unless there is time-extension request by the petitioner. 

Update:

At the City Council Special Meeting on Wednesday September 5, 2018 the following amendment (#289-18) was approved by voice vote to be added to the draft Special Permit. Here is the full Report and Councilor Baker's memorandum on the matter. 

Referred to Land Use Committee
#289‐18 Special Permit Petition to amend Board Order #167‐14 for Garden Remedies

GARDEN REMEDIES, INC/697 WASHINGTON STREET REALTY TRUST petition for a SPECIAL PERMIT/SITE PLAN APPROVAL to amend Board Order #167‐14 to allow the retail sale of recreational marijuana and medical marijuana, to delete Condition #3 relative to customer appointments, to amend Condition #4 to allow up to 12 employees at one time, to amend Condition #5 to modify the hours of operation, to expand the premises to include additional space, to allow waivers to perimeter screening requirements, to allow waivers to interior landscaping requirements, to allow waivers for parking facility requirements for; parking in the front setback, waivers to interior landscaping, waivers for interior planting area requirements, waivers to requirements for tree planting, waivers to requirements for bumper overhang area landscaping, waivers to requirements for 1‐foot candle lighting, waivers for retaining walls over 4’ in height and a waiver for 5 parking stalls to the extent necessary in Ward 2, Newton at 697 Washington Street (Section 23 Block 19 Lot 01B), 691 Washington Street (Section 23 Block 19 Lot 01A), 681 Washington Street (Section 23 Block 19 Lot 01) and 2 Court Street (Section 23 Block 19 Lot 23), containing approximately 16,669 sq. ft. of land in a district zoned BUSINESS USE 2. Ref: 7.3.3, 7.4, 5.1.8.A.1, 5.1.13, 5.1.9.A, 5.1.9.B, 5.1.9.B.1, 5.1.9.B.2, 5.1.9.B.3, 5.1.9.B.4, 5.1.10.A.1, 5.4.2.B of the City of Newton Rev Zoning Ord, 2015.

Land Use Approved 3‐1‐3 (Auchincloss Opposed, Kelley, Laredo, Markiewicz abstaining, Lipof Recused) on 08/07/18; Public Hearing Closed June 26

Item Chartered by Councilor Schwartz on August 13, 2018

Motion to amend to add the following new condition was approved by Voice Vote:

Add a new Condition #21 and renumber the current Conditions ### 21, 22, and 23 as ### 22, 23, and 24 respectively:
21. In the event that a ballot question prohibiting all recreational marijuana retail establishments from operating in the City of Newton is passed by the voters at the November 6, 2018 special municipal election and the Newton City Council subsequently adopts a general ordinance prohibiting all recreational marijuana retail establishments from operating in the City of Newton, the provisions in this special permit that would authorize the co‐location of a recreational marijuana retail establishment at this site and regulate such operation shall be null and void. The provisions in this special permit that apply to the operation of the RMD shall remain in force.

Motion to postpone to September 17, 2018 was Approved by Voice Vote.

Update (092118):

Motion to postpone to September 24, 2018 was Approved by Voice Vote on 09/17/18.

This docket item will be deliberated and voted on at the Special Meeting called by the City Council President, Marc Laredo on MONDAY, September 24, 2018 at 7:00 PM.

There is a second site currently going through the special permit process for a RMD located at 24-26 Elliot Street (old Green Tree Restaurant site). 

#288-18 Special Permit Petition to allow RMD at 24-26 Elliot Street  

CYPRESS TREE MANAGEMENT, INC petition for a SPECIAL PERMIT/SITE PLAN APPROVAL to allow a registered medical marijuana dispensary in a non-conforming structure, to waive minimum stall dimensions, to waive minimum aisle width for two- way traffic, to waive perimeter screening requirements, to waive interior landscaping requirements, to waive requirements for interior planting, to waive requirement for interior tree planting, to waive requirements for bumper overhang area landscaping, to waive requirements for 1-foot candle lighting and to allow the RMD to be located within 500’ of a school at 24-26 Elliot Street, Ward 5, Newton Highlands, on land known as Section 51 Block 25 Lot 01, containing approximately 25,320 sq. ft. of land in a district zoned BUSINESS USE 2. Ref: Sec 7.3.3, 7.4, 6.10.3, 6.10.3.D.1, 6.10.3.F.2, 4.1.3, 6.10.3.D.5, 7.8.1.C.1, 7.8.2.C.2, 5.1.12, 5.1.13, 5.1.8.B.1, 5.1.8.B.2, 5.1.8.C.1, 5.1.8.C.2, 5.1.9.A, 5.1.9.B.1, 5.1.9.B.2, 5.1.9.B.3, 5.1.9.B.4, 5.1.10.A.1 of the City of Newton Rev Zoning Ord, 2015. 

The proponents of this petition, Cypress Tree Management, spoke at the Newton Highlands Area Council on Wednesday July 11, 2018. Please visit the NHNAC Google group to view the meeting minutes.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018- Land Use Committee Meeting - City Hall, Chamber

9:00 PM Or Later

              Planning Department Memorandum

              24-26 Eliot Street - Response to Questions

If unable to attend please consider viewing Land Use working session on NewTV - (Comcast 9 • RCN 13, 581 (HD) • Verizon 33).

Update:

#419‐18 Extension of Time for #288‐18 ‐ RMD at 24‐26 Elliot Street

CYPRESS TREE MANAGEMENT, INC petition for a request for an EXTENSION OF TIME for the City Council to ACT until October 20, 2018 on Special Permit Petition #288‐18 to allow a registered medical marijuana dispensary at 24‐26 Elliot Street, Ward 5, Newton Highlands, on land known as Section 51 Block 25 Lot 01, containing approximately 25,320 sq. ft. of land in a district zoned BUSINESS USE 2. Ref: Sec. 7.3.3, 7.4, 6.10.3, 6.10.3.D.1, 6.10.3.F.2, 4.1.3, 6.10.3.D.5, 7.8.1.C.1, 7.8.2.C.2, 5.1.12, 5.1.13, 5.1.8.B.1, 5.1.8.B.2, 5.1.8.C.1, 5.1.8.C.2, 5.1.9.A, 5.1.9.B.1, 5.1.9.B.2, 5.1.9.B.3, 5.1.9.B.4, 5.1.10.A.1 of the City of Newton Rev Zoning Ord, 2017.

Land Use Approved 6‐0‐1 Recused 

Full Report of docket item.

Update (092118):

This consideration will be discussed at the Land Use Committee Meeting held Tuesday September 25, 2018, 7 pm.

Here is the Planning Department Memorandum with the draft Board Order for the site.

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Recreational Marijuana Establishments  

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Recently there has been the submission to the City Council of two potential Ballot Questions (to appear on the November 6, 2018 ballot).    

The two potential Ballot Questions, one to exclude (Citizen petition #312-18) and the second to limit (Docket item #379-18) the number of Recreational Marijuana Establishments in Newton. 

City Council Reports Docket - (Reported out 070918) 

#312-18 Citizens Petition requesting ballot question on recreational marijuana establishments  

SUZANNE BENDER ET AL., submitting a group petition pursuant to Section 10-2 of the City of Newton Charter, requesting that the City Council place a question on the November 6, 2018 ballot as to whether the City of Newton will adopt the following ordinance:  

“Operation of recreational (non-medical) marijuana establishments as defined in M.G.L. Chapter 94G is prohibited in Newton, provided that a marijuana establishment that was licensed and approved to operate as a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (Registered Marijuana Dispensary) in the City of Newton prior to July 1, 2017 may, if otherwise allowed by zoning, (a) cultivate non-medical marijuana; (b) manufacture and/or produce non-medical marijuana related products; (c) test non-medical marijuana and the products derived therefrom; (d) engage in wholesale distribution of non-medical marijuana and non-medical marijuana products, but not to include retail sales thereof in the City of Newton.”  

Programs & Services Approved 3-1-2 (Albright opposed; Krintzman and Brousal-Glaser abstaining; Baker not voting); Public Hearing Closed 
Motion to Postpone to Date Certain of July 9, 2018 Approved by Voice Vote on 06/18/18 

Motion to Approve Failed to Carry 13 Nays, 8 Yeas (Councilors Auchincloss, Baker, Ciccone, Cote, Gentile, Kelley, Rice & Schwartz), 2 Recused (Councilors Lappin and Lipof), 1 Absent (Councilor Laredo)  

This Ballot Question required the City Council approval in order to appear on the November 6, 2018 ballot. It did not win approval and as a Citizen Petition will require 6,000 signatures in order to be resubmitted to the City Council for approval to appear on the Fall ballot. 

 

#379-18 Ballot Question regulating the number of recreational marijuana establishments  

COUNCILORS ALBRIGHT AND KRINTZMAN requesting that the City Council place on the ballot, at a special election to be held in November 2018, a question as to whether the City of Newton shall limit the number of retail recreational marijuana establishments operating in Newton to no fewer than two and no more than six.  

Programs & Services Approved as amended 5-1-2 to “no fewer than 2 and no more than 4” (Baker opposed; Schwartz and Kalis abstaining). 

Approved 19 Yeas, 2 Nays (Councilors Gentile & Leary), 2 Recused (Councilors Lappin and Lipof), 1 Absent (Councilor Laredo) 

This Ballot Question was approved and will appear as a Ballot Question on the November 6, 2018 ballot. 

Ballot Questions Update

Subsequent to the City Council approval of this docket item (to limit the number of recreational marijuana establishments) the proponents of a city petition Initiative (to prohibit recreational marijuana establishments in Newton - "Opt-Out") sucessfully collected the required number of signatures (certified by the City Clerk) to put the question on the 2019 Ballot. The City Council has the authority persuant its authority under M.G.L.,c.94G, sec.3 to put the question on the 2018 Ballot.

The following memorandums were issued on the subject matter.

Law Department Memorandum (083118) on proposed ballot questions.

City Council President Marc Laredo Memorandum (082818) on proposed ballot questions.

The City Council through the Program and Services Committee held a meeting on Thursday, September 6th to deliberate and vote on the following docket items. Here is the full Committee Report.  

#470‐18 Initiative Petition requesting a ballot question prohibiting recreational marijuana establishments with exceptions

SUZANNE BENDER ET AL., submitting an Initiative petition pursuant to the City of Newton Charter and signed by 10% of the registered voters, requesting that the City Council place a question on the November 6, 2018 ballot as to whether the City of Newton will adopt the following ordinance:

“Operation of recreational (non‐medical) marijuana establishments as defined in M.G.L. Chapter 94G is prohibited in Newton, provided that a marijuana establishment that was licensed and approved to operate as a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (Registered Marijuana Dispensary) in the City of Newton prior to July 1, 2017 may, if otherwise allowed by zoning, (a) cultivate non‐medical marijuana; (b) manufacture and/or produce non‐medical marijuana related products; (c) test non‐medical marijuana and the products derived therefrom; (d) engage in wholesale distribution of non‐medical marijuana and non‐medical marijuana products, but not to include retail sales thereof in the City of Newton.”

Programs & Services voted No Action Necessary 7‐0 

 

#469‐18 Requesting the City Council place a question on the ballot prohibiting retail recreational marijuana sales in Newton

COUNCILORS BAKER, NORTON, GENTILE, KALIS, COTE, CICCONE, LAREDO, KELLEY, SCHWARTZ AND MARKIEWICZ requesting reconsideration of item #312‐18 so that the Council can place a question on the ballot that would prohibit retail recreational marijuana establishments in the City at a November 2018 Special Election.

Programs & Services Approved as amended 8‐0 

 

#468‐18 Request to remove the Question regulating the number of recreational marijuana establishments from the November ballot.

COUNCILORS COTE, NORTON and KELLEY requesting that the City Council remove from the November 2018 special election ballot the question as to whether the City of Newton shall limit the number of retail recreational marijuana establishments operating in Newton to no fewer than two and no more than four, which was approved by the City Council on July 9, 2018.

Action: Programs & Services Motion to Approve as amended failed to carry 4‐4

Note: Councilor Baker proposed amending this item so that the Committee can consider language that is different from the language that was approved on July 9, 2018. In order to place a 2‐4 question on the ballot, this Committee has to recommend a question to the City Council and it would have to be affirmatively voted again. The proposed amendment is as follows and is also recommended by the Mayor in docket item #476‐18, also

Shall the City adopt the following zoning ordinance?

The number of recreational marijuana retail establishments shall be not fewer than two (2) nor more than four (4) establishments set by a general ordinance adopted by the City Council notwithstanding M.G.L. Chapter 94 G, Sec 3(a)(2)(ii).

The Committee agreed to amend the language. Ouida Young, Acting City Solicitor explained that the change in language from July 9 was minimal and clarifying in nature. It essentially made it clear that this would be a zoning ordinance that would then reference a general ordinance. The question, however, is basically the same. 

 

#471‐18 Provide a means for voters to determine which marijuana question prevails if both are approved

PRESIDENT LAREDO requesting discussion and vote on a means to enable Newton voters to determine which of two ballot questions limiting retail marijuana sales will prevail if both appear on the November ballot and both receive a majority vote of the electorate, recognizing that a subsequent implementing ordinance may still be required.

Action: Programs & Services Approved 4‐2‐2 “that if more than one question passes, the question with the highest number of votes will prevail. 

Note: President Laredo explained that this docket item is designed to draft a Resolution to the Election Commission so that guidance can be given to voters so they know what their votes will mean. 

Docket #471-18 Provide a means for voters to determine which marijuana question prevails if both are approved. 

Recommended Action: Adopt a Resolution requesting the Election Commission place the following Instruction to Voters on the Ballot ·

Instructions to Voters:

Questions 1, 2 and 3 are separate questions. You may vote for or against each question independently.

Each question requires a majority of those voting on that question to pass. Ifmore than one question passes,

Or

Option 1:

Option 2:

the question with the highest number of votes will prevail.

the question that bans all recreational marijuana retail establishments

will prevail.

Or

the question that bans all recreational marijuana retail establishments will prevail, provided that if the question to ban does not pass and the other two questions pass, the question with the highest number of votes wiH prevail. 

 

#476‐18 Proposed ballot questions re recreational marijuana retail establishments

HER HONOR THE MAYOR requesting the three following questions be placed on the ballot for a special election in November:

Question 1.

Shall the City adopt the following general ordinance?

All recreational marijuana retail establishments shall be prohibited from operating in the City of Newton.

Question 2.

Shall the City adopt the following zoning ordinance?

The number of recreational marijuana retail establishments shall be not fewer than two (2) nor more than four (4) establishments set by a general ordinance adopted by the City Council notwithstanding M.G.L. Chapter 94 G, Sec 3(a)(2)(ii).

Question 3.

Shall the City adopt the following zoning ordinance?

The number of recreational marijuana retail establishments shall be not fewer than two (2) nor more than eight (8) establishments set by a general ordinance adopted by the City Council notwithstanding M.G.L. Chapter 94 G, Sec 3(a)(2)(ii).

Action: Programs & Services voted No Action Necessary 8‐0

The Committee took straw votes on each question:
Question 1: No Action Necessary 8‐0 as this question was discussed in #469‐18 Question 2: No Action Necessary 8‐0 as this question was discussed in #468‐18 Question 3: Motion to Approve failed to carry 3‐5‐0 

 

#441‐18 Set the date of November 6, 2018 for a Special Municipal Election

CITY CLERK requesting the City Council set the date of November 6, 2018 as the date for a Special Municipal Election to submit to the voters question(s) related to limiting retail marijuana in Newton.

Action: Programs & Services Approved 8‐0
Note: The Committee voted to approve November 6, 2018 as the date for a Special Municipal Election, unanimously. 

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Additional Resources: 

At any point until the final vote out of the full City Council you can express your opinions directly to our Ward 5 Councilors (contact information below).

John B. Rice (Ward)
Phone: (617) 332-5827

E-mail: jrice@newtonma.gov 

Deborah J. Crossley (At Large)
Phone: (617) 775-1294
E-mail: dcrossley@newtonma.gov 

Andreae Downs (At Large)
Phone: (617) 329-1261
E-mail: adowns@newtonma.gov