, Salem, MA

Local News

November 23, 2012

Mayor: No pot shops in city

Mayor Ted Bettencourt will seek to outlaw marijuana shops in Peabody.

“I will be going to the (City Council) on Tuesday and ask them to ban the operation of medical marijuana treatment shops in the city,” he said Wednesday.

A City Council subcommittee had been considering a measure that would limit such shops to specific areas like Route 1, which is zoned for adult activities. But Bettencourt feels the law legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes is so vague that is presents a danger to public safety wherever it is located.

The law passed via a ballot measure on Election Day, Nov. 6, and allows the use of the drug for medical reasons.

“It’s not in the best interest of the city,” Bettencourt said, adding that he voted against the ballot question and both police Chief Robert Champagne and the city’s Board of Health were outspoken in their opposition to it.

The mayor suggested a concern that the use of marijuana could lead to more drug use in general.

“Every family’s been troubled in some way with someone involved in drug abuse,” he said.

Councilor Barry Osborne had a cautious reaction to the mayor’s proposal. While he voted against the marijuana law, he’s since met with people interested in locating a shop in Peabody. “I heard from one individual who’s part of a nonprofit. It seemed legit.” In that case, he said, the law could be a boon for Peabody. “It could actually generate some revenue.”

But all depends, Osborne cautioned, on how such an operation would be run. He cited the city’s melancholy experience with methadone clinics some years back as an unfortunate precedent.

“I would probably ask for more time,” he said of his response to the mayor.

Whatever is decided, Osborne wants the city to have a degree of control over any facility.

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