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 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) 

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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. 

 

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).

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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. 

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Additional Resources: 

At any point until the final vote out of the full City Council Meeting (possibly Monday August 13th) you can express your opinions directly to our Ward 5 Councilors (contact information below).

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

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

E-mail: jrice@newtonma.gov