By Adam Sennott [email protected]
The City Council voted to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in business and industrial districts citywide Monday.
In a 6-3 vote, the council amended the city’s zoning ordinance to allow dispensaries within business and industrial districts. The amendment prohibits dispensaries from opening within 1,800 feet of one another. The Ordinance Committee may reconsider the ordinance if state recreational marijuana regulations impact the location of medical marijuana dispensaries, particularly if they allow medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries to share a location.
Before the vote, medical marijuana shops were allowed in two specific parts of Harvard Square, in the North Point area north of the Monsignor O’Brien Highway, in the Fresh Pond Mall and in the portion of the Alewife area bounded by Fresh Pond Parkway and Concord Avenue. The smaller of the two Harvard Square districts was added at the request of the owners of a proposed medical marijuana shop in 2016.
The city’s business zoning districts encompass parts of Harvard and Central Squares, much of Massachusetts Avenue from Richard Avenue through Porter Square to Wendell Street and along much of Cambridge Avenue from Inman Square to Second Street. Much of the city’s industrial zoning districts are clustered outside Kendall Square along Binney, Rogers and Bent Streets.
Councilors Craig Kelley, David Maher and Tim Toomey all voted against amending the ordinance.
Maher said he was concerned the buffer zone between dispensaries isn’t big enough.
“This is very, very small,” Maher said.
Kelley said in an email to the Chronicle that he is concerned that if the city allows medical dispensaries in one area of Cambridge then it won’t be able to prohibit recreational sales within that same area.
“We already have a number of permitted, or getting permitted, medical marijuana shops and there are others in