NEW BEDFORD — Since the first license to sell retail recreational marijuana was handed out by the Cannabis Control Commission on July 2, pot shops across Massachusetts have been officially allowed to open for business.

While these businesses are now legalized on the state level, cities and towns across the Commonwealth have yet to completely draft local legislation to govern the retail marijuana market in their borders. This was due to repeated delays at the state level to draft its own legislation, forcing cities and towns to wait to form local laws and ordinances.

The City of New Bedford has a moratorium on retail marijuana sales in place until September 30.

The New Bedford City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to refer letters from Attorney Edward J. Sylvia Jr., also a real estate broker, to committee regarding the location of a retail marijuana dispensary in the city’s north end on behalf of his client.

The motion, submitted by Council President Linda Morad, requests that Sylvia’s letters be referred to the Special Committee on the Licensing and Zoning for Cannabis.

Sylvia’s letter to the Council includes plans for a site for the dispensary in the north end on Kings Highway, and further asks the Council to examine the site for approval. It’s located in a large setback lot behind the Brodeur & Sons Heating and Air Conditioning building next to the rail road tracks. In the letter, Sylvia explains that the site is in the city’s Industrial B Zone and is in an “ideal” location for his dispensary.

“This location is ‘Industrial B’ and is in a high traffic shopping center area, with a lot separated from any residences, shoppers, churches, or schools and there is a bus service to the site,” writes Sylvia. “The site is a separate fenced parcel with sufficient parking surrounding by commercial real estate development. The site has high traffic numbers and plenty of parking abutting the three northend shopping centers, but is not a part thereof.”

The site is currently owned by Park Plaza N.B. LLC.  Sylvia also writes that the owners listed on the LLC “have and currently hold a liquor license for many years without a single violation or late filing.”

Councillor At-Large Ian Abreu, also Chairman of the Cannabis Committee, says that this potential location will be decided upon the same process as all other applicants for retail marijuana licenses.

“What will happen is once we ordain a recreational marijuana zoning ordinance all applicants will come to the city and they’ll apply, they’ll go through the process with the administration, they’ll then come to the City Council for ratification and we’ll review the host agreement. If all sides agree and its applicable then we’ll move forward from there,” Abreu explained. “Mr. Sylvia and his client will go through the process like anybody else. Once the ordinance is ordained and the Mayor signs it, he and his team can come to the city and they can go through the process like everybody else and take the next step forward to hopefully opening up a dispensary in the spot they’re interested in.”

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