Any pot ban in Malden would require vote

MALDEN — It will be up to voters in this city to decide if Malden bans marijuana sales.

The state Legislature’s rewrite of the recreational marijuana law passed by voters in 2016 states that communities that passed the legalization referendum last year can only ban pot shops if a majority of voters are in favor of a ban.

Malden voters passed the question locally by a 54-46 percent vote. In Medford, it was a bit higher, 58-42 percent. Melrose also backed the ballot question 55-45 percent.

Some of the city’s elected officials oppose marijuana sales, with City Council members in May taking stances against recreational marijuana sales, including proposals to stall the potential siting of recreational marijuana retailers in Malden until it is legalized by the federal government.     

Federal law at this time prohibits both possession and sale of marijuana. The marijuana law’s passage last year spurred the Council’s ordinance committee to consider zoning approaches to regulating marijuana sales.

At a May committee meeting, Councilor Craig Spadafora, the ordinance committee chairman, proposed creating a new business category called “Adult Speciality Retail Sales” that would pertain to any alcohol, tobacco or marijuana retailers.

Any zoning change of this nature has to go through the Planning Board and a public hearing process.

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