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North Adams Planners Reject Proposed Retail Pot Moratorium

With changes coming to city hall, a proposed moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses in North Adams, Massachusetts is up in the air. Governor Charlie Baker signed a law this year allowing communities to opt out of recreational pot sales.

In November, outgoing North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright, a Democrat, proposed a moratorium on recreational pot businesses to assess zoning concerns.

“The moratorium is not about saying we don’t want marijuana here,” Alcombright says. “What it’s saying is we just want to have control about where it locates.”

But at a recent public hearing, the city’s planning board recommended the city council not delay a potentially profitable retail pot facility from moving into the community. Municipalities can tax the industry up to 3 percent.

“For me the economic argument is kind of dead on arrival,” Alcombright says, “cause there are so many more, let’s call them, social issues that can derive from this.”

The issue is expected to be taken up next year by new city councilors and the next mayor, Democrat Tom Bernard. 

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