NEW BEDFORD - New Bedford Ward Three City Councillor Hugh Dunn is looking to safeguard his constituents from undesired marijuana shops.

State law currently allows medical marijuana dispensaries, like Beacon Compassion Center under development on Hathaway Road, to transition to full-blown retail marijuana stores.

Dunn says most of New Bedford's votes against legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts came from people in his ward, and they should have some say if Beacon Compassion wants to make the changeover. "I believe in the right to access medical marijuana. But, I don't believe that that right to access should restrict the right of local government and local residents to weigh in on whether a recreational dispensary should go in their neighborhoods," said Dunn.

Dunn says the current state provisions for seamless transition from medical to recreational dispensaries fly in the face of democracy, leaving voters without any additional input.

"That's what government's all about. The history of Massachusetts has been decisions being made off of local input. Taking that away from our residents is a departure from what's made this state great."

Dunn has sent a letter to the State Legislature's Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, requesting they give power to local governments to approve or deny such applications after receiving feedback from nearby residents.