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Council passes marijuana ordinance

Restricts sale to Technology Enterprise District

The Revere City Council passed a citywide ordinance that would only allow businesses to sell recreational marijuana in the Technology Enterprise District (TED) by way of special permit. The revised ordinance defines the type of retail business which would sell the marijuana, the products to be sold and the location where it can be sold. The city can opt-out of the law, which allows the city to approve two marijuana retail shops with a majority vote by April 1, 2018.

Many cities and towns throughout the state – especially in the North Shore, such as Peabody and Lynnfield – are looking to opt-out or create an ordinance banning the retail sale of marijuana. The councillors agreed in their opposition to recreational marijuana use, but considered the ordinance as a way to protect themselves legally.

Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso reminded his fellow councillors of the Moonlight Video lawsuit decades ago – brought against the city for denying a license to an adult video store – which cost the city millions. “You will hear people say, ‘I don’t care, I’ll go to court’,” said Guinasso. “But I care. I don’t want to go to court and spend millions of dollars that could go elsewhere.”

He also said the fact that it has to be obtained by a special permit also protects the city. “You need to get eight votes for that,” he said.

Ward 4 Councillor and Council Vice President Patrick Keefe said he was against recreational marijuana because of the message it sends to children. “The more ‘okay’ we make it for everyone, the more ‘okay’ it is for the children of our city,” he said.

However, he was in favor of the ordinance. “I was reading news stories about how liquor stores might also want to start selling [marijuana] – so this would protect us against that,” he said.

Councillor-at-Large Steve Morabito wanted to make sure Revere residents know where the council stands on recreational marijuana. “It would be easy to misconstrue this vote and say that we are in favor of marijuana,” he said. “That is not the case. This is a way to protect our city.”

Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky agreed. “The voters already made up their minds on this issue in the state [election],” he said. “We are just setting up rules on location.”

The council unanimously voted in favor of the ordinance. Council President Bob Haas and Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo were absent.

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