Is your town considering restrictions on recreational pot sales?

Medical marijuana, a pipe, rolling papers and two joints in Belfast, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press
Medical marijuana, a pipe, rolling papers, and two joints in Belfast, Maine.

(Note: This story was updated the latest information on July 6.)

At least 153 cities and towns across Massachusetts are considering — or at least have considered recently — restrictions on the sale of recreational marijuana.

The restrictions vary: From delaying when retail pot shops can open, to prohibiting them in certain areas, to banning them altogether, according to a review of recent news coverage as well as documents posted on municipal websites.

So far, at least 29 of the 153 communities have approved outright bans, another 70 municipalities have approved a moratorium (or temporary ban), and four others have approved rules limiting where shops can open.


Meanwhile, in at least five communities, proposals to enact a moratorium were turned down recently.

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Many other municipal governments plan to decide on potential restrictions at town meetings or other public hearings in the coming months.

And at least two additional communities have not formally proposed any restrictions, but have established committees to explore how to address the looming issue of retail recreational marijuana.

The restrictions that have been proposed and implemented so far have largely been in surburban communities, which has upset city leaders, including Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who worry urban areas will be overwhelmed by marijuana shoppers, the Boston Herald has reported.

In November, nearly 1.8 million Massachusetts voters, about 54 percent who cast a ballot, legalized recreational marijuana.


Growing, buying, possessing, and using limited quantities of the drug became legal statewide in December. Retail sales are due to begin in mid-2018.

Despite the statewide results, majorities of voters in 91 communities opposed legalization. And among those who voted to legalize recreational use of the drug, some may oppose marijuana shops opening in their communities.

The law gives cities and towns several options to push back, including by restricting where retail shops can open or banning them altogether.

Municipal leaders have expressed concern that state law doesn’t make clear what process that cities and towns must follow to ban or restrict marijuana sales in their communities.

A bill filed with the Legislature seeks to end such confusion, the State House News Service reported recently.


(Note: Due to the large number of communities currently considering restrictions on marijuana commerce, the information below may be incomplete or out of date.)

Town Action considered Approved Vote on Question 4
Abington Moratorium Moratorium For
Agawam Moratorium - Against
Amesbury Recreational Marijuana Committee - For
Amherst Zoning restrictions - For
Andover Moratorium Moratorium Against
Arlington Moratorium Moratorium For
Ashby Moratorium Moratorium For
Ashland Ban; moratorium Moratorium For
Auburn Ban Ban For
Barnstable Moratorium - Against
Barre Moratorium Moratorium For
Belmont Moratorium Moratorium For
Berlin Moratorium - For
Beverly Moratorium Moratorium For
Billerica Moratorium - For
Bolton Moratorium Moratorium For
Bourne Ban Moratorium Against
Boxborough Moratorium Moratorium For
Boxford Moratorium Moratorium Against
Braintree Ban; moratorium - Against
Bridgewater forming committee to study - Against
Brookline Moratorium - For
Burlington Moratorium Moratorium Against
Canton Moratorium Moratorium Against
Carver Moratorium Moratorium For
Charlton Ban - For
Chicopee Moratorium - For
Clarksburg Moratorium - For
Cohasset Moratorium Moratorium Against
Dalton Moratorium Moratorium For
Danvers Moratorium Moratorium Against
Dedham Moratorium Moratorium For
Dennis Ban Ban Against
Douglas Moratorium Moratorium For
Dudley Moratorium Moratorium For
East Bridgewater Ban Ban For
East Brookfield Ban Ban For
East Longmeadow Ban Ban Against
Easton Moratorium Moratorium Against
Egremont Moratorium Moratorium For
Essex Moratorium - For
Fairhaven Moratorium Moratorium For
Falmouth Ban Ban Against
Fitchburg Moratorium - For
Foxborough Ban Ban Against
Framingham Moratorium; zoning restrictions - For
Franklin Zoning restrictions Zoning restrictions For
Georgetown Moratorium - For
Gloucester Zoning restrictions - For
Grafton Moratorium Moratorium For
Greenfield Moratorium Moratorium For
Hadley Moratorium Moratorium For
Halifax Zoning restrictions Zoning restrictions For
Hamilton Moratorium Moratorium Against
Hanover Moratorium - Against
Hanson Moratorium Failed to approve moratorium For
Harvard Moratorium Failed to approve moratorium For
Harwich Moratorium Moratorium Against
Hingham Moratorium Moratorium Against
Holbrook Moratorium Moratorium For
Holden Moratorium Moratorium Against
Holliston Ban - For
Holyoke Moratorium Moratorium For
Hopkinton Ban Ban Against
Hull Moratorium Moratorium For
Ipswich Moratorium Moratorium For
Kingston Moratorium Moratorium Against
Lee Moratorium Moratorium For
Lenox Moratorium Moratorium For
Leominster Moratorium Failed to approve moratorium For
Lexington Ban; moratorium - Against
Lincoln Moratorium Moratorium For
Littleton Moratorium Moratorium For
Ludlow Moratorium - Against
Lunenburg Moratorium Moratorium For
Lynnfield Ban Ban Against
Malden Ban; moratorium; zoning restrictions - For
Mansfield Moratorium Moratorium For
Marlborough Moratorium - For
Mashpee Ban, cap on licenses, other rules - Against
Mattapoisett Moratorium - Against
Medfield Ban Ban Against
Medway Ban Ban For
Melrose Moratorium - For
Merrimac Moratorium - For
Methuen Ban - Against
Middleton Ban Ban Against
Milford Zoning restrictions - For
Millbury Moratorium Moratorium For
Milton Moratorium Moratorium Against
Nantucket Zoning restrictions - For
Needham Moratorium Moratorium Against
New Bedford Moratorium - For
North Andover Moratorium Moratorium Against
North Reading Ban Ban Against
Northborough Moratorium Moratorium Against
Northbridge Moratorium Moratorium For
Norwell Ban Ban Against
Norwood Ban Ban Against
Orleans Ban; moratorium Moratorium Against
Paxton Moratorium Moratorium Against
Peabody Ban - Against
Pembroke Ban Ban Against
Plainville Moratorium Moratorium For
Plymouth Ban - For
Raynham Ban Ban Against
Reading Ban Ban Against
Rehoboth Moratorium Moratorium For
Revere Zoning restrictions Zoning restrictions Against
Rochester Moratorium - For
Rutland Moratorium - Against
Sandwich Ban Ban Against
Scituate Moratorium Moratorium Against
Shelburne Moratorium - For
Sherborn Ban Ban Against
Shrewsbury Moratorium Moratorium Against
South Hadley Moratorium Moratorium For
Southborough Ban Ban Against
Southbridge Moratorium - For
Southwick Moratorium Moratorium For
Spencer Ban Ban For
Springfield Moratorium Moratorium For
Sterling Ban; moratorium Moratorium Against
Stoneham Moratorium - Against
Stoughton Ban Ban For
Stow Moratorium Moratorium For
Sturbridge Ban; moratorium Ban For
Sudbury Moratorium Moratorium Against
Sutton Moratorium Moratorium Against
Taunton Moratorium - For
Tewksbury Moratorium Moratorium Against
Topsfield Moratorium Moratorium Against
Wakefield Ban Ban Against
Walpole Ban - Against
Ware Moratorium Failed to approve moratorium For
Wareham Moratorium Moratorium For
Wayland Moratorium Failed to approve moratorium For
Webster Moratorium - For
Wellesley Moratorium Moratorium Against
West Bridgewater Moratorium Moratorium Against
West Springfield Moratorium Moratorium Against
Westborough Ban Ban Against
Weston Ban Ban Against
Westport Moratorium Moratorium For
Westwood Ban Ban Against
Weymouth Ban; moratorium - Against
Whitman Moratorium - For
Wilbraham Ban Ban Against
Williamstown Ban; zoning restrictions Zoning restrictions For
Wilmington Moratorium Moratorium Against
Winchester Moratorium - Against
Winthrop Moratorium - For
Woburn Ban - Against
Worcester Ban; moratorium; cap on licenses; zoning restrictions - For
Yarmouth Moratorium Moratorium Against
SOURCE: Globe review of recent news coverage; Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mrochele