LYNN — Pot is coming to a storefront near you and there’s not much anyone can do to stop it.
The public will have a chance to testify at City Hall on Tuesday, March 27 about where the recreational marijuana shops should be located. But there’s no chance the City Council will approve an outright ban.
Last year, Lynn voters supported legalizing recreational pot by a 17,524 to 15,515 margin. Because of that vote, state law says as many as six pot shops can go anywhere there’s a retail store in Lynn.
Given two medical marijuana facilities were approved for the Lynnway and Western Avenue in Ward 6, City Councilor Peter Capano said he will oppose any zoning that allows more in his district.
“The city already forced two medical marijuana shops in my ward and I don’t want any more,” he said.
Last summer, the City Council chose the Massachusetts Patient Foundation’s proposal for a shop on the Lynnway, and Old World Remedies of Marblehead plans to open on Western Avenue. Both must sign a host agreement to provide benefits to the city before they can open.
Citing the fairness issue, City Council President Darren Cyr encouraged councilors to find a location in their wards, with the exception of Capano who already has two.
Ward 1 Councilor Wayne Lozzi has proposed zoning that would allow a shop at Goodwin Circle on the Lynnfield border in his district.
James Lamanna, the city’s attorney, said it’s likely the zoning will allow the shops in the city’s business district on Union, Essex, Boston, and Lewis streets.
“But potentially, they could replace a cleaners, an auto parts or convenience store anywhere,” he said. “Every ward in the city has some type of business where they could go.”
Lynn is under an April 1 deadline to devise zoning for the pot shops. If the Council fails to act, state law allows pot vendors to open anywhere where there’s a retail store.
It is possible for the Council to restrict pot sales. For example, a draft rule would prohibit the shops near schools, parks, and from residential areas as much as possible.
The pot stores are expected to open in July.