Councilor William J. Macek believes it is too early to draft up any regulations given the loose language of the ballot question.
As a result of voters’ November legalization of recreational marijuana, Haverhill City Councilors set into motion plans to regulate possible shops opening in the city.
Although the legalization of medical marijuana passed in 2012, no shops have opened in Haverhill yet. Councilors are not concerned about the language of the legislation as it exists now, but know it could change as the state prepares regulations.
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, councilors unanimously passed a motion by Councilor Michael S. McGonagle to send the matter to the council’s Administration and Finance Committee for further study.
“With all that’s going on in the country right now with opioids and other issues that are facing our kids, I want to make sure that we have the appropriate regulations and requirements in place,” Bevilacqua said. “I’m concerned obviously about the setbacks and distances that need to be established regarding the location by schools, by playgrounds, by play fields, places of assembly like a boys and girls club where the kid may be, and places of congregation like churches.”
“We just want to put this on the agenda, be ahead of this and get folks to at look at this and be prepared for the next year,” LePage said.
Councilor William J. Macek succeeded in scuttling an earlier motion by Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua to ask City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. to draft regulations. Macek said he believes it is too early to draft any regulations given the loose language of the ballot question.
“I think it would be inappropriate to ask the solicitor to write something up in an ordinance form for us when there are going to be so many changes,” said Macek. “I think it’s premature because legislature is going to be reviewing it. Also, the Department of Public Health will be reviewing it like they did with medical marijuana,” he added.
Councilors also approved sending a letter to the mayor, police and fire departments notifying them of the draft request.