New Bedford will soon allow legal recreational cannabis to be sold in retail outlets. The process is now in the hands of the mayor and the pot businesses.

In 2016, the voters of Massachusetts decided it was time to legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana. There were numerous legal changes along the road to get to where the state is currently. The possession of marijuana was decriminalized and the sale and use of medical cannabis were legalized years ago.

There have been complaints about the speed at which the City of New Bedford has moved to make recreational pot available. Those complaints are based on a combination of enthusiasm for cannabis and a lack of knowledge and experience with the various open processes by which the local and state government function.

The vote in 2016 was just the start. The state of Massachusetts has 351 cities and towns but as of my last count, there were only 22 marijuana dispensaries in operation in the entire state.

The City put together a zoning package for the pot shops. The City had an open invitation for marijuana businesses to make an application for a host community agreement with the City. The committee put together to screen applications has completed there mission and forwarded a number of qualified applications to the office of Mayor Jon Mitchell.

Now the mayor's office and the qualified businesses will have to hammer out a community host agreement. Once that agreement is signed, the applicants can go to the state's Cannabis Control Commission for a license.

There will soon be at least one recreational marijuana retail store open in the city of New Bedford.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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