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Council approves half-mile limit on pot shops, dispensaries in Boston

Anticipating voters will approve the recreational use of marijuana, city councilors voted today to ban pot shops and medicinal marijuana dispensaries from opening closer than a half mile to each other.

City Councilor Michael Flaherty (at large) had originally sought a one-mile restriction, but offered a half mile as a compromise. The measure now goes to the mayor.

Flaherty repeated he wants to ensure the city's neighborhood business districts remain largely populated by mom and pop shops, rather than being pushed out by well heeled out-of-town Big Pot.

"I don't want to have another Combat Zone, I don't want to have a pot zone, a marijuana zone," he said.

Three councilors - Andrea Campbell (Dorchester), Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton and Ayanna Pressley (at large) voted against the proposal, not because they object to the general idea of geographic restrictions but because they think it's too early - voters haven't had their say and the state certainly hasn't drafted regulations on how to dole out pot-shop licenses.

They also said they're wary of conflating recreational use and medical marijuana, noting voters approved dispensaries more than three years ago and yet Boston still doesn't have a single dispensary.

"It is very dangerous" to be conflating recreational pot and medicinal marijuana," Pressley said, adding she favors including a discussion of marijuana zoning in upcoming discussions on Boston planning, to ensure no one neighborhood gets overrun with pot shops.

Campbell said the city needs to be "abundantly cautious when placing restructions" on businesses.

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Comments

Will we also be applying the same logic to recreational alcohol dispensaries?

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Alcohol isn't a medicine.

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alcohol cures braincells

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We don't keep the booze shops a half mile apart, why are we keeping the bud shops so spread out?

Is reefer madness somehow worse than a drunken rage? And in a way that separating pot shops by half a mile can remedy?

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The discussion is pot as medicine and the benefit of spreading out medical pot shops so that more people can benefit. No one is discussing alcohol as medicine and therefore not keeping them clustered in a single neighborhood which would mean access is more difficult for more people. So, what's your point?
Drunken rage, reefer madness... I really have no idea how these phrases relate to medical pot shop distribution which is the discussion at hand. You're opposed to medical pot based on some silly 1950's reefer madness film? Drinking beer puts you into a drunken rage? Then you'd better lay off the Sam Adams. You're all over the place on this one.

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and medicinal shops. It has nothing to do with making sure medicine is accessible to all. What it does is make sure that no recreational or medicinal dispensary can be within a half mile of an other. Where alcohol comes into the equation, is that if we applied this rule to the more dangerous drug, alcohol, then no bar or package store could be within a half mile of another.

It's asinine that A) we still don't have any medicinal dispensaries open yet and B) that we're setting regulations for something else that hasn't even been put on a ballot, and is still unfortunately illegal in the eyes of the state and federal government.

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Actually, as regularly discussed here on Uhub, there is often neighborhood opposition when a business applies to sell alcohol... one of the arguments being that there already is an existing business selling alcohol nearby. You must be new here, zetag.

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Enough with the god damned prohibition on not fully unprohibiting things. If it's just a store its just a store. If it's legal, it's legal. You might as well prohibit nail salons from opening within a half mile of each other. At least that would add some diversity.

Good LORD the reefer addicts will have to saunter slightly farther to get their devil's weed

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I absolutely hate this kind of regulation. A half mile in Downtown Crossing is entirely different from a half mile in West Roxbury. There are so many other ways to write this kind of rule..... instead of using miles you could use census blocks, or population density, or density of residences, or assessed value of real estate...

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Think of it this way: if you have things spaced a half mile apart, you will be on average 1/4 mile from any given facility.

I realize that it doesn't always work out that way, but 1/4 mile isn't too far to travel in the city for most people, including those who use wheelchairs.

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And to put that into "city terms" a 1/4 mile is roughly the distance from Mass and Boylston to Gloucester Street walking down Boylston.

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it's an insurmountable trek 6 months out of the year

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shots fired

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The combat zone was not created due to lack of regulation over adult entertainment but rather by virtue of regulations designating the area precisely for these uses following court orders holding that such uses could not be outlawed all together. I can understand not wanting to create another combat zone but this regulation is unnecessary if that is the concern.

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Yes, the combat zone was created as a result of court cases but it was a huge disaster for Chinatown and the surrounding area. Its effect was felt for decades. Only the price of real estate and internet porn likely changed it. The South End, for example is becoming another combat zone right no and again, it's through city poliycy. Go over to the corner of Mass Ave and Melnea Cass near the methadone clinics and homeless shelters. It's not only dangerous but has damaged the quality of life in the surrounding areas. Are homeless shelters necessary? YES! Is healthcare for the homeless and drug addicts necessary? YES! Are 90% of these services in one neighborhood? Yes. Is any other neighborhood calling the mayor's office to help take some of the burden off the South End and Newmarket Sq area? You know the answer.
There have already been two requests for Marijuana Dispensaries in the South End. Enough is enough.

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I'm not sure how it's beneficial to people who need pot for medicinal purposes to have them all clustered together... they should be spread out.

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Do you think the same about people who need other prescriptions? Regulations like this reduce competition. If drugstore (or dispensaries) are forced to be 1/2 mile from each other, they will be able to charge more due to lack of competition.

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I believe medicinal pot should be sold at pharmacies and that way there is no need for pot shops.

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But until the day marijuana is decriminalized at the federal level, it's not going to happen - no national chain would dare touch the stuff.

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They should be wherever the market supports them best.

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medicinal dispensaries so im not sure why this would be a concern

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...that there are councilors concerned with "waiting for the ballot initiative" vote, yet no one brings up the presidential election or the fact that it is still illegal federally. The only thing keeping those businessmen in Colorado out of jail is a memo from Obama. A MEMO. "Dear AG, don't prosecute pot cases m'kay?" THAT'S IT. What happens when King Trump and VP CHristie (who vowed to enforce federal pot laws on the campaign trail) take their throne? All these pot shop owners, growers, and "patients" go to federal clink with a stroke of a pen, their assets seized. MA late to the game again, gonna pass recreational just in time for the GOP to stomp pot out again in their "war on drugs"

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Which is only enforceable on a state level. There is no way the feds have enough money to combat pot growers and sellers now, especially since the pot growers and sellers (in the national chain level) have enough capital to draw out any court case the feds may bring, due to their state-legit operations. This is de facto legislation on the part of the states, and no DEA administrator in their right mind would try to bring enough cases against these state-approved facilities, despite any actions taken by subsequent federal executives, to have any discernible impact.

Even if they did, it's a weed. It's so easy to grow I'm really surprised that stores in colorado, washington and oregon are successful.

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If the Combat zone also became the Pot zone, it would be called the Pole Pot zone.

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Problem solved.

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What do you think this is something that can safely be sent via mail like a gun or ammo?

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but that's more or less what's happening. Multiple businesses are already running as delivery services.

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Hypothetical situation: your workplace and home are both in perfect locations to not have a marijuana dispensary nearby, which is to say that that both locations are surrounded by dispensaries 0.49 miles away.

Per the city's vote, you must now go out of your way to acquire medicine prescribed by a doctor. Medicinal marijuana is prescribed to alleviate pain, among other things. You must now travel outside your normal commute to acquire your medicine, which may cause additional pain.

What if the closest dispensary requires walking (in pain)? What if you must take the MBTA to get to a dispensary (which may not be along your commute)? What if you don't have a car, or you do have a car, but there's no parking nearby?

Check this website: https://www.freemaptools.com/radius-around-point.htm.

Input your home address and work address, and input a 0.49 mile radius around that. Where do you get your prescriptions? Where do you get your Vicodin, blood pressure meds, anxiety pills? Is your pharmacy within a 0.49 mile radius of your home or workplace?

Guess what's within 0.49 miles of Boston City Hall, where elected city councillors voted for this measure. Clockwise from north - Government Center, most of the North End, most of the Waterfront, Faneuil Hall, all of the Financial District, half of Beacon Hill, and most of the West End. How many pharmacies are located within this area?

This half-mile limit on marijuana dispenciaries is short-sighted at best, ignorant at worst. Let the market decide what's best for dispensary locations for patients just as you've let the market decide what's best for pharmacy locations for patients.

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Hypothetical solution: You get your medicine delivered.

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Oregon just legalized pot. Due to the huge amounts of money a dispensary can make and the high rent it therefore can pay, we are seeing mom-and-pop stores that everybody loved and have been around for decades, get pushed out. Building landlords are approached by dispensaries and deals are cut for big rent increases. In our town we've had 1 bakery and 1 natural food market be pushed out by pot dispensaries. The market was in existence since the 1970's. If you like variety/choice/diversity you won't like having wall-to-wall pot shops.

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Has become the new Walmart where you live?

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