After the town’s selectmen unanimously voted in July to hold a special election, Wayland
residents will take to the polls on Oct. 2 to decide whether to ban all recreational
marijuana establishments –not just retail, but cultivation, manufacturing and test facilities
as well. If a majority of voters approve the ban on Oct. 2, then a two-thirds majority at
Town Meeting in November will be needed to finalize it.
If the town’s voters reject the ban at the October ballot, then the town will have two
zoning articles on the Town Meeting warrant in November. One article will consist of
local regulations to oversee pot establishments. The other will call for an overlay district
where marijuana establishments would be located. Town officials will hold a public
hearing on the overlay district sometime in August, and it must be held before the town
warrant closes Aug 30.
The temporary moratorium on recreational pot establishments, which was passed at last
year’s town meeting, expires Dec. 31. According to town planner Sarkis Sarkisian, no
marijuana businesses have contacted Wayland in regard to setting up.
Following are recaps of where surrounding towns are at in terms of sales of recreational
Weston has banned all recreational sales.
Sudbury opted out of sales of recreational marijuana at its May Town Meeting when
more than two-thirds of the residents present voted to pass a zoning measure that bans the
sale of pot in the town. Article 20 bans commercial sales, cultivation and retail
establishments but cannot prohibit personal use or at-home cultivation.
Natick currently has a temporary moratorium on recreational marijuana establishments
that expires on Dec. 31.
In June, selectmen moved away from the idea of a possible ban of recreational marijuana
in favor of regulation. Although one selectman wanted to put a question on the November
ballot to ban recreational marijuana businesses, three of the city’s remaining four
selectmen opposed the idea at the board’s meeting on June 25, saying that voters had
decided the issue in November 2016 when 54% of them voted to legalize recreational
Framingham currently has a moratorium on sales of recreational marijuana through Dec.
On June 11, Framingham’s Recreational Marijuana Task Force recommended creating a
marijuana retail overlay district, a controlled environment where sales of pot would be
allowed. The area would consist of a section of eastern Framingham near Exit 12 and the
Southborough border, and another chunk of land to the west, near the Natick border.
The new overlay district excludes residential areas such as Nobscot and Saxonville, the
central business district and the Southside. Pot shops would also be prohibited in the
center of the city, near the Framingham State University campus. The overlay would also
exclude areas within 500 feet of schools.
Members of the marijuana task force are now developing recommendations for when and
how many pot stores can operate, with the goal of presenting their findings to the City
Council before year-end. The group previously expressed support for capping the number
of pot shops in the community at between two and six. Under state law, because
Framingham already has two medical marijuana dispensaries in the pipeline, the City
Council can’t restrict the number of recreational dispensaries to fewer than two.
The city’s first medical marijuana facility, Temescal Wellness, plans to run a medical
marijuana dispensary at 665 Cochituate Road, but has also signaled its intention to sell
recreational pot, and has received priority status from the CCC in the licensing process
for recreational marijuana businesses, although it will first need to negotiate a new host
agreement with the mayor.
At this year’s Annual Town Meeting, the Wellesley Board of Selectmen proposed Article
28, which amended the town’s zoning bylaw to prohibit all marijuana establishments.
The Advisory Committee voted 11-0 in favor of the article, and the selectmen said the
prohibition was supported, among others, by the police chief, Board of Health, and
Planning Board. When Article 28 reached TM floor, where a 2/3 vote was required for it
to pass, it was quickly approved by a standing vote.
Newton currently has a moratorium in place that goes through Dec. 31. But come
November, residents could be deciding between two competing recreational marijuana
ballot questions that will decide the city’s future when it comes to retail marijuana. One
question would ban recreational marijuana businesses entirely; the other would limit the
number of retailer establishment to four.
Opt Out Newton, a committee created by a group of residents, is collecting signatures to
put a question on the town’s Nov. 6 ballot to ban sales entirely. If the committee collects
6,000 signatures by Aug. 22, the City Council will then decide whether to put the
initiative on the ballot. If the council declines to do so, Opt Out Newton will have to
obtain an additional 3,000 signatures by Sept. 26 to get the question on the ballot.
In July, Opt Out Newton brought a previous version before the City Council, but
councilors voted against putting it on the ballot. Instead it approved its own version that
would limit the number of shops to no more than four.
According to state law, Newton is eligible for eight recreational marijuana licenses, 20%
of the city’s liquor license cap. In order to reduce the number of licenses to any number
under eight, the city would have to vote on a ballot question.
Newton’s current moratorium was established after a vote by the town’s Zoning/Planning
Committee in February. Garden Remedies, the city’s only medical marijuana dispensary,
was exempt from that vote and is allowed to pursue recreational sales.
Several nearby towns also have temporary moratoria on retailing of recreational
marijuana, including Stow (ends Nov. 1); Lincoln (ends Nov. 30); and Acton, Belmont,
Concord, Lexington and Marlborough (end Dec. 31.) Marlborough is also considering an
overlay district. Holliston has banned recreational sales. Hudson will allow them.