Since voting to pass question four in the 2016 state election, Somerville has taken many steps to roll out adult-use recreational marijuana though no dispensary has been opened.
It’s been almost three years since Somerville voted overwhelmingly to legalize recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, but a recreational dispensary has yet to open in the city.
The process is underway, however. Somerville’s Licensing Commission has received applications from 22 unique applicants since they became available on Feb. 13, 2019, and at least one of those may open its doors later this year.
A brief timeline
Since voting to pass question four in the 2016 state election, Somerville has taken many steps to roll out adult-use recreational marijuana.
In February 2018, the City Council voted in favor of a moratorium on recreational marijuana, extending the discussion process with a deadline of Dec. 21, 2018. In November, they passed a licensing ordinance recognized statewide for its dramatic approach to equity. And, just before that December deadline, the council passed a zoning ordinance regarding adult-use marijuana establishments.
The Somerville licensing ordinance stipulates that licenses will only be provided to state-certified economic empowerment applicants, Somerville-owned businesses, and co-ops (Group A), as well as existing medical dispensaries (Group B). For the first two years, there must be an equal or greater number of licenses issued to Group A applicants, essentially meaning that medical dispensaries can’t just open their doors to recreational users off the bat.
In February 2019, the city updated the Licensing Commission on projected application, permit, and licensing procedures. Applications opened on Feb. 13, with a first deadline of April 5.
The process, in a nutshell, looks like this: First, the applicant submits an application for a Host Community Agreement (HCA) to city, which is reviewed by mayor’s Marijuana Advisory Committee (MAC). The MAC will