It’s been nearly five years since the Revere City Council banned the sale of recreational marijuana within the city limits in the wake of the statewide vote to legalize weed. One City Councillor said he thinks it might be time to take a closer look at the impact that ban has had on Revere.
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri introduced a motion asking that the council conduct a financial impact study relative to medical and recreational marijuana within the city. “This is a motion that is very important to me,” said Silvestri, adding that a deep dive into the economic generation marijuana sales could bring to the city would be helpful. “I’m not asking for anyone to change their vote, just to agree that we can have educated information on what cities and localities around us are making, how many they have and the laws they have put into place and how they use them.”
Silvestri said there is a three percent tax on recreational marijuana that Revere is missing out on. “We sit up here tonight and we talk about the lack of money [for traffic enforcement]; we talk about the lack of money for parks and recreational activities and education,” said Silvestri.
The money raised through the marijuana tax could be spent at the discretion of the council, Silvestri said. “We don’t often have money that we have the ability to do that with in the city,” he said. “I think a study like this is important for us because there are people in the city that are moving forward to put this on the ballot, and I think we should have our ducks in a row before that is done.”
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe, who voted to ban marijuana sales inside the city limits in 2017, said he would support Silvestri’s motion for the study, but to not expect him to go any further in support of recreational marijuana sales in the city. “I will say that I have not been an advocate for this necessarily in the city,” said Keefe, who also noted that there is an active license that was grandfathered in for marijuana sales on Railroad Avenue.
“There is nothing being done about that, so I will just say that if the money is so great and it’s such a thriving business that you’d think people would be hurdling over themselves to get something done over on Railroad Avenue. I will support the councillor in his want for more information because I respect his opinion, but will not be supporting much further after that regardless of the information we get.”
Silvestri said that marijuana sales are now a billion dollar business in Massachusetts that has brought in over a half million dollars in revenue to neighboring cities like Boston and Lynn.
Keefe said his statement that he would not support marijuana sales was nothing personal against Silvestri’s efforts, but his attempt to let people in the city understand where he stands on the issue.
City Council President Gerry Visconti said the discussion would continue at a future date at an Economic Subcommittee meeting. “I want to reiterate that this is only for a discussion; we are not asking anybody for a vote on where they stand on this,” said Visconti.