Pittsfield City Council to Consider Medical Marijuana Dispensary Zoning

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts City Council will consider a zoning amendment tonight that nearly doubles the areas in the city where medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to operate. A previous draft of the measure would have included enough restrictions it would have limited facilities to under 6 percent of the city. Attorney General Martha Coakley has ruled cities and towns cannot completely ban dispensaries — though they can draft laws to regulate them. But city planner CJ Hoss says there’s no point in trying to zone them out.

“Pittsfield is the largest community in Berkshire County by far. So we understand its a very high likelihood that, whether its a cultivation operation and dispensary or just a dispensary — at some point someone will want to come to the city.”

Hoss says a preliminary version of the zoning measure prevented dispensaries from being sited within 500 feet of a church and restricted them from areas of the city’s commercial district near residential neighborhoods. He says the community development board dropped almost all of these — though the proposal still requires 500 feet between a medical marijuana facility and a school. The community development board and city council will each hold a public hearing on the amendment early next month.