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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 3: Local control

Section 3. Local control

(a) A city or town may adopt ordinances and by-laws that impose reasonable safeguards on the operation of marijuana establishments, provided they are not unreasonably impracticable and are not in conflict with this chapter or with regulations made pursuant to this chapter and that:

[ Clauses (1) and (2) of subsection (a) effective until July 28, 2017. For text effective July 28, 2017, see below.]

(1) govern the time, place and manner of marijuana establishment operations and of any business dealing in marijuana accessories, except that zoning ordinances or by-laws shall not prohibit placing a marijuana establishment which cultivates, manufactures or sells marijuana or marijuana products in any area in which a medical marijuana treatment center is registered to engage in the same type of activity;

(2) limit the number of marijuana establishments in the city or town, except that a city or town may only adopt an ordinance or by-law by a vote of the voters of that city or town if the ordinance or by-law:

(i) prohibits the operation of 1 or more types of marijuana establishments within the city or town;

(ii) limits the number of marijuana retailers to fewer than 20 per cent of the number of licenses issued within the city or town for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages not to be drunk on the premises where sold under chapter 138 of the General Laws; or

(iii) limits the number of any type of marijuana establishment to fewer than the number of medical marijuana treatment centers registered to engage in the same type of activity in the city or town.

[ Clauses (1) and (2) of subsection (a) as amended by 2017, 55, Sec. 23 effective July 28, 2017. For text effective until July 28, 2017, see above.]

(1) govern the time, place and manner of marijuana establishment operations and of any business dealing in marijuana accessories, except that zoning ordinances or by-laws shall not operate to: (i) prevent the conversion of a medical marijuana treatment center licensed or registered not later than July 1, 2017 engaged in the cultivation, manufacture or sale of marijuana or marijuana products to a marijuana establishment engaged in the same type of activity under this chapter; or (ii) limit the number of marijuana establishments below the limits established pursuant to clause (2);

(2) limit the number of marijuana establishments in the city or town; provided, however, that in the case of a city or town in which the majority of voters voted in the affirmative for question 4 on the 2016 state election ballot, entitled "Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana'', and after December 31, 2019 in the case of any other city or town, the city or town shall submit any by-law or ordinance for approval to the voters pursuant to the procedure in subsection (e) before adopting the by-law or ordinance if it would:

(i) prohibit the operation of 1 or more types of marijuana establishments within the city or town;

(ii) limit the number of marijuana retailers to fewer than 20 per cent of the number of licenses issued within the city or town for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages not to be drunk on the premises where sold under section 15 of chapter 138; or

(iii) limit the number of any type of marijuana establishment to fewer than the number of medical marijuana treatment centers registered to engage in the same type of activity in the city or town;

(3) restrict the licensed cultivation, processing and manufacturing of marijuana that is a public nuisance;

[ Clause (4) of subsection (a) effective until July 28, 2017. For text effective July 28, 2017, see below.]

 

(4) establish reasonable restrictions on public signs related to marijuana establishments; and

[ Clause (4) of subsection (a) as amended by 2017, 55, Sec. 24 effective July 28, 2017. For text effective until July 28, 2017, see above.]

(4) establish reasonable restrictions on public signs related to marijuana establishments; provided, however, that if a city or town enacts an ordinance or by-law above the commission's standard, that local ordinance or by-law shall not impose a standard for signage more restrictive than those applicable to retail establishments that sell alcoholic beverages within that city or town; and

(5) establish a civil penalty for violation of an ordinance or by-law enacted pursuant to this subsection, similar to a penalty imposed for violation of an ordinance or by-law relating to alcoholic beverages.

(b) The city council of a city and the board of selectmen of a town shall, upon the filing with the city or town clerk of a petition (i) signed by not fewer than 10 per cent of the number of voters of such city or town voting at the state election preceding the filing of the petition and (ii) conforming to the provisions of the General Laws relating to initiative petitions at the municipal level, request that the question of whether to allow, in such city or town, the sale of marijuana and marijuana products for consumption on the premises where sold be submitted to the voters of such city or town at the next biennial state election. If a majority of the votes cast in the city or town are not in favor of allowing the consumption of marijuana or marijuana products on the premises where sold, such city or town shall be taken to have not authorized the consumption of marijuana and marijuana products on the premises where sold.

(c) No city or town shall prohibit the transportation of marijuana or marijuana products or adopt an ordinance or by-law that makes the transportation of marijuana or marijuana products unreasonably impracticable.

[ Subsection (d) effective until July 28, 2017. For text effective July 28, 2017, see below.]

(d) No agreement between a city or town and a marijuana establishment shall require payment of a fee to that city or town that is not directly proportional and reasonably related to the costs imposed upon the city or town by the operation of a marijuana establishment. Any cost to a city or town by the operation of a marijuana establishment shall be documented and considered a public record as defined by clause Twenty-Sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 of the General Laws.

[ Subsection (d) as amended by 2017, 55, Sec. 25 effective July 28, 2017. For text effective until July 28, 2017, see above.]

(d) A marijuana establishment or a medical marijuana treatment center seeking to operate or continue to operate in a municipality which permits such operation shall execute an agreement with the host community setting forth the conditions to have a marijuana establishment or medical marijuana treatment center located within the host community which shall include, but not be limited to, all stipulations of responsibilities between the host community and the marijuana establishment or a medical marijuana treatment center. An agreement between a marijuana establishment or a medical marijuana treatment center and a host community may include a community impact fee for the host community; provided, however, that the community impact fee shall be reasonably related to the costs imposed upon the municipality by the operation of the marijuana establishment or medical marijuana treatment center and shall not amount to more than 3 per cent of the gross sales of the marijuana establishment or medical marijuana treatment center or be effective for longer than 5 years. Any cost to a city or town imposed by the operation of a marijuana establishment or medical marijuana treatment center shall be documented and considered a public record as defined by clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4.

[ Subsection (e) added by 2017, 55, Sec. 25 effective July 28, 2017.]

(e) If an ordinance or by-law shall be submitted for approval pursuant to clause (2) of subsection (a), the following procedures shall be followed:

(1) The city solicitor or town counsel shall prepare a fair and concise summary of the proposed ordinance or by-law which shall make clear the number and types of marijuana establishments which shall be permitted to operate under the proposed ordinance and by-law and shall be included on the ballot.

(2) A ballot shall be prepared asking "Shall this [city or town] adopt the following [by-law or ordinance]? [solicitor/counsel summary] [full text of by-law or ordinance]''

(3) If the majority of the votes cast in answer to the question are in the affirmative, the city or town may adopt the by-law or ordinance, but if the majority of votes cast is in the negative, the city or town shall not adopt the by-law or ordinance.

A ballot question under this subsection may be placed on the ballot at a regular or special election held by the city or town by a vote of the board of selectmen or by the city or town council, with the approval of the mayor or chief executive officer of a city that does not have a mayor, and subject to a municipal charter, if applicable.