City leaders passed the Adult-Use Marijuana Zoning Ordinance with minor changes on July 3.
A news release sent to 22News from Mayor Richard Kos’ Office states that the changes were adopted by the Chicopee Planning Board. The City Council also initiated another change made to the ordinance.
The original zoning ordinance was proposed by Mayor Kos at a City Council meeting on June 5. Three public hearings were held with the Planning Board and the City Council Zoning and Ordinance Sub-Committees before the final passage of the ordinance.
“I thank the Planning Board, City Council and the City Law Department for their efforts in getting this responsible legislation accomplished,” stated Mayor Richard J. Kos.
One Chicopee resident said he hopes these new businesses help revitalize the city.
“My neighbor tells about times back in the seventies when people would be coming out of the mills, and go to all the stores,” said Eli from Chicopee. “It was just alive.”
The Adult-Use Marijuana Ordinance categorizes the eight (8) License Types detailed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission into three (3) groups as follows:
Group A: Business to Business – any entity that executes wholesale sales transactions between itself and a licensed adult-use marijuana establishment.
License Types: Marijuana Cultivator & Craft Marijuana Cooperative
Applicable Zoning Districts: Industrial
Group B: Business to Consumer – any entity that executes retail sales transactions involving adult-use marijuana or marijuana products between itself and the general public or non-business entities.
License Types: Marijuana Retailer, Micro Business & Social Consumption Operator
Applicable Zoning Districts: Industrial, Business A, Business B, Business C, Mixed Use, Central Business District & Mill Conversion, and Commercial Center Overlay District.
Group C: Adult-Use Marijuana Establishments Not Conducting Sales Operations – an entity that engages in no adult-use marijuana sales transactions of any kind.
License Types: Independent Testing and Standards Laboratory, Marijuana Research Facility & Marijuana Transporter.
Applicable Zoning Districts: Industrial, Business A, Business B, Business C, Mixed Use, Central Business District, Mill Conversion and Commercial Center Overlay District & Commercial A.
The three groups mentioned above are separate from each other and each has different zoning requirements.
The mayor’s office said Group B licenses have the most significant buffer requirements because it involves retail transactions of marijuana products. Sensitive land uses including schools, recreation facilities, childcare facilities, churches, libraries, drug rehabilitation/detoxification facilities among others are protected by established buffers.
During the Planning Board’s public hearing, the Board voted to add two requirements to
the zoning ordinance as follows:
– Addition of a definition for ‘adult user’
– Requirement that any entity that receives a Special Permit will provide the City a bond or deposit of money in order to guarantee the establishment, upkeep, and maintenance of the facility and grounds, including any planted vegetated Screen.
“In order for an adult-use marijuana facility to open within Chicopee it must obtain a special permit from the City Council and all proposals must meet the requirements set forth within the ordinance and as required by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission,” the news release stated.
The passed ordinance provides four retail licenses within the city. This is based upon the number of liquor licenses in the city (one marijuana retail license per five liquor licenses.)
“It is important to note that the Adult-Use Marijuana Ordinance is a stand-alone zoning ordinance, that governs Adult-Use Facilities separately from Medical Marijuana Facilities,” the mayor’s office stated.