Anticipating voters will approve the recreational use of marijuana, city councilors voted today to ban pot shops and medicinal marijuana dispensaries from opening closer than a half mile to each other.
City Councilor Michael Flaherty (at large) had originally sought a one-mile restriction, but offered a half mile as a compromise. The measure now goes to the mayor.
Flaherty repeated he wants to ensure the city's neighborhood business districts remain largely populated by mom and pop shops, rather than being pushed out by well heeled out-of-town Big Pot.
"I don't want to have another Combat Zone, I don't want to have a pot zone, a marijuana zone," he said.
Three councilors - Andrea Campbell (Dorchester), Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton and Ayanna Pressley (at large) voted against the proposal, not because they object to the general idea of geographic restrictions but because they think it's too early - voters haven't had their say and the state certainly hasn't drafted regulations on how to dole out pot-shop licenses.
They also said they're wary of conflating recreational use and medical marijuana, noting voters approved dispensaries more than three years ago and yet Boston still doesn't have a single dispensary.
"It is very dangerous" to be conflating recreational pot and medicinal marijuana," Pressley said, adding she favors including a discussion of marijuana zoning in upcoming discussions on Boston planning, to ensure no one neighborhood gets overrun with pot shops.
Campbell said the city needs to be "abundantly cautious when placing restructions" on businesses.