NEW BEDFORD - The New Bedford City Council is wasting no time gearing up for next year's implementation of recreational marijuana dispensaries.

Council president Joseph Lopes created the Special Committee on Licensing and Zoning for Cannabis earlier this month, and has invited representatives from both sides of the issue to come before the committee to discuss their ideas and concerns.

Invitees will include Communications Director for the Campaign to regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Jim Borghesani, New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro and City Health Director Dr. Brenda Weis.

"It'll be interesting to see how the people that are coming in [from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol] are going to speak in favor of the item and it's also going to be interesting to see where the police department is speaking as it relates to what happens on the street," Lopes said.

Lopes tapped Councilor at Large Ian Abreu to chair the special committee, thanks to his passionate advocacy and support for bringing both medicianal and recreational marijuana dispensaries into the Whaling City last year.

New Bedford is the first municipality in the Commonwealth to assemble such a committee to look at local effect of commercial sales of marijuana, set to take effect as early as 2018.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 27, at 7 P.M.

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