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Brookline Seeking Public Input On Recreational Marijuana Regulations

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With the state expected to start accepting applications for recreational marijuana licenses in April, Brookline is seeking public input on potential regulations, starting with a survey.

According to Economic Development & Long-term Planner Francisco Torres, the town is hoping to bring local regulation by-laws to Town Meeting in May, meaning the town has to finalize any warrant articles by March when the warrant closes.

“It’s kind of a tight deadline,” said Torres.

The deadline may be tight, but the town is committed to a full public process complete with the survey and a few public hearings, Torres said. When recreational marijuana appeared on the ballot in November 2016, 60 percent of Brookline voters supported legalizing recreational marijuana.

Brookline is now tasked with identifying just how to regulate recreational marijuana establishments using draft legislation from the state as well as a community input.

“What we want to do is to better understand what they want,” Torres said of Brookline residents.

Short survey being distributed

Containing just three questions, the survey looks specifically at the number of licenses that would be issued to recreational marijuana establishments in Brookline.

“I don’t think people understand we can set a number,” said Torres.

According to a press release from the town’s planning and community development department, the town has three options: to not set any cap on the number of licenses issued, to cap the licenses to 20 percent of more of the number of package store license issued, or to cap the number at 20 percent or lower.

The last two options would require Town Meeting approval.

Torres noted that some who have taken the survey have asked for more information, finding that the survey did not have enough information about recreational marijuana and possible regulations. He stressed that the survey is just the starting point of the public process and that more details will be shared as work on the regulations continues. The planning and economic development department’s website also has a web page dedicated to recreational marijuana.

The survey will close on December 31, 2017, with public meetings to follow in January.

In addition to the public, the planning and community development department is working with other departments like the public health and legal departments, and will also look at regulations in states with legalized recreational marijuana like Colorado and Washington, according to Torres.

Those interested in the survey can find it online through the Department of Planning and Community Development website here.