Council Considers Options as Legal Sale of Recreational Marijuana Nears

Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier)

City Councilors Joseph A. Bevilacqua (pictured)  and William J. Macek want to continue a discussion Tuesday on how to strengthen the city’s control of illegal and under-age marijuana use as well as education of all residents as the time nears for the sale of recreational marijuana to adults.

Bevilacqua has been a vocal and frequent opponent of recreational marijuana being sold in the city. However, Haverhill voters supported the sale of recreational marijuana in a 2016 referendum, which binds the city to follow the voters’ will. The only recourse available to the city to suspend the legal sale of recreational marijuana is to plan another ballot. The will of the voters would determine the city's course.

Click image for Haverhill City Council agenda.

Council will meet beginning at 7 p.m. in the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers, on the second floor of Haverhill City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

The council approved a short moratorium on enacting the state Cannabis Control Commission’s rules for the sale of recreational marijuana, which are expected to be put into effect later this spring.

The council’s Administration and Finance subcommittee discussed issues related to marijuana sales at its March 29 meeting, noting that Gov. Charlie Baker has submitted legislation to clarify and amend the commission’s planned ordinance.

Baker also has asked for $2 million from the Legislature to pay for statewide education about the rules of recreational marijuana sales.

Haverhill councilors have discussed using zoning as a way to control recreational marijuana sales and seeking to deny medical marijuana dispensaries from expanding their businesses to offer recreational marijuana as well when its sale becomes legal.