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Published On: Fri, Mar 29th, 2013

Growing list of Massachusetts towns looking to ban pot shops; Kingston remains silent

Martha Coakley

Attorney General Martha Coakley has already said that towns can’t ban pot dispensaries, but that isn’t stopping a host of other communities throughout Greater Boston who are also considering a ban.

KINGSTON- Since Massachusetts voted to allow the construction of statewide medical-marijuana facilities last year, many towns within the Greater Boston area have taken to local government to fight the possibility of commercialized weed close to home.

Despite Attorney General Martha Coakley’s  assertion that municipalities can’t put the kibosh on prescription pot, Wellesley will consider a town-wide ban during April’s town meeting and, if successful, would join a growing list of communities to challenge the legality of “Question 3.”

Question 3, which passed with over 60% of the vote last November, allows up to five marijuana dispensaries per county for patients with written prescriptions. Only two Massachusetts municipalities, Lawrence and Mendon, voted against legalizing medical marijuana.


In this map of Greater Boston, towns that have considered or approved pot bans are colored red while towns yet to do so are colored green. Boston, at the center, is shaded dark green.

Malden, Melrose and Wakefield have also passed bans on marijuana dispensaries. In Needham, where the Board of Selectmen supported a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries, residents will consider approving the selectmen’s ban on pot shops at May’s town meeting.

According to, Cambridge, Scituate, Quincy Hingham and Dedham are also toying with the idea of a moratorium.

And just north of Boston, in February, the mayor of Lynn vetoed a decisive vote banning pot dispensaries by that city’s own 10-member city council, saying that he feared the Lynn ban would be unconstitutional.

Soon after Wakefield’s ban on pot dispensaries was passed, the Wakefield Town Clerk received an email from Coakley herself. “The Act’s legislative purpose could not be served if a municipality could prohibit treatment centers within their borders,” Coakley wrote. “For if one municipality could do so, presumably all could do so.”

Locally, conversation in Kingston about medical marijuana has been nearly non-existent since Question 3’s approval last year– and no initiative to ban pot dispensaries within Kingston borders has yet come to light.

potshop1Marijuana dispensaries will not be constructed within Massachusetts until after April 20, when a statewide public comment period will cease.

The day before the state’s public-comment period ends, on April 19, a public hearing about medical marijuana will be held by the Department of Public Health in Plymouth.

Regardless of Massachusetts’ new tolerance for doctor-prescribed pot, medical marijuana remains prohibited according to the federal laws of the United States.








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