Recreational Marijuana--Frequently Asked Questions

Q1:  When did recreational marijuana become legal in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Question 4, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in Massachusetts.  It was approved. Out of 7,389 registered Brewster voters, 6,687 votes were cast on Question 4, resulting in a 51.8% to 48.2% vote against the Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative in Brewster. 

Q2:  What were Articles 10 & 11 on the November 2017 Brewster Town Meeting warrant?
As authorized by MGL Chapter 94G Section 3(a)(2), Article 10 proposed to ban recreational marijuana establishments in Brewster.  Article 11 proposed a temporary moratorium on these uses until December 31, 2018.  Both articles failed to receive the required 2/3 majority vote of Town Meeting. 

Q3:  What is a Recreational Marijuana Establishment?
Recreational Marijuana Establishments, as defined by MGL Chapter 94G Section 1, include: Marijuana Cultivator, Marijuana Product Manufacturer, Independent Testing Laboratory, Marijuana Retailer, and any other licensed Recreational Marijuana Establishment. 

Q4:  Who is the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC)?
The CCC is a 5-member state regulatory and licensing board created to oversee marijuana legalization and issue licenses to firms that seek to sell marijuana products.

Q5:  What is the Brewster Planning Board’s role with Recreational Marijuana?
The Planning Board is developing zoning regulations for these uses in advance of the Cannabis Control Commission’s scheduled April 1, 2018 date for license applications.  Zoning regulations will identify the zoning district(s) where these uses may be permitted, how they will be permitted, and reasonable standards of review. 

Q6:  What is a “Special Permit”?
MGL Chapter 40A, Section 9defines special permits as follows: “Zoning ordinances or by-laws shall provide for specific types of uses which shall only be permitted in specified districts upon the issuance of a special permit. Special permits may be issued only for uses which are in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the ordinance or by-law, and shall be subject to general or specific provisions set forth therein; and such permits may also impose conditions, safeguards and limitations on time or use.”Uses regulated by special permit in Brewster include, but are not limited to; restaurants, hotels and motels, drive-through’s and medical marijuana dispensaries.

Q7:  When will sales of recreational marijuana begin?
Question 4set the date for licensing cannabis shops to begin on January 1, 2018. However, Massachusetts state legislators voted to move the date to July 1, 2018.  The Cannabis Control Commission was schedule to begin accepting licenses October 1, 2017, but moved that date to April 1, 2018.  Recreational sales are expected to begin sometime after July 1, 2018 for license holders that have completed their local permitting. 

Timeline of Events

May 5, 2014: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Adopted in Brewster (ATM, Article 22)

November 8, 2016: Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization (State Ballot Question 4)

November 13, 2017:Brewster Town Meeting Vote on Articles 10 (Ban) & 11 (Moratorium)

December 20, 2017: Planning Board Special Meeting

January 10, 17, 24, 2018: Planning Board Public Meetings

February 14, 2018: Planning Board Public Hearing on Recreational Marijuana Zoning Bylaws

March 12, 2018: Special Town Meeting – Vote on Brewster Zoning & General Bylaws for Recreational Marijuana Establishments

April 1, 2018: Cannabis Control Commission schedule to begin accepting licenses for Marijuana Establishments

July 1, 2018: Recreational sales for approved license holders may begin

Contact Information

Ryan Bennett
Brewster Town Planner
rbennett@brewster-ma.gov
508-896-3701 ext. 1133

Kari Hoffmann
Brewster Planning Board, Chair
brewplan@brewster-ma.gov
508-896-3701 ext. 1133