Easthampton proposes buffer zone for marijuana businesses near schools

Hampshire County

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – City officials want to provide room for residents to responsibly have access to legal cannabis.

Beginning in July, various types of marijuana businesses will be permitted to legally sell pot in Easthampton’s downtown and mill industrial districts.

The city is proposing to establish a buffer zone to allow the businesses to operate while minimizing negative impact on schools.

A 350-foot buffer zone between any retail marijuana establishment and any school with kindergarten through 12th grade students.

350 represents a compromise between the planning Board’s proposed 200-foot buffer, and the 500-feet recommended by youth advocates.

Easthampton City Councilor Owen Zaret told 22News, “We thought that 350 feet was a reasonable number to keep these businesses not directly localized to our schools but at the same time allowing for really vigorous business development.”

“I think the buffer zone is a great idea it will keep the children safe, keep business flourishing and keep Easthampton on an upward climb,” said Erskin Wilson of Easthampton.

Easthampton will be setting a preliminary limit of nine marijuana retail licenses.

The City Council will now have the opportunity to make its own changes before voting to accept or reject the zoning rule package.

2nd western Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensary now open in Easthampton

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