Don't Be Fooled, Barnstable's Proposed Cannabis Zone is as Small as the Zone for Strip Clubs!
That's right folks, in what appears to be extremely limited consideration for this soon-to-be $1.8B Massachusetts industry, Barnstable Council President Steinhilber, and Vice President Crocker are proposing to BAN all recreational cannabis business types, except for Research, Testing, and Cultivation.
At first, this appears to be a newly discovered "business oriented" cannabis policy shift by these conservative leaders. In reality, unfortunately, the zones they are proposing are so small and restrictive, that the zones for "Strip Clubs" appear larger and more welcoming.
Crocker & Steinhilber even propose banning cannabis business from Barnstable's already approved "Medical Marijuana Overlay District", which itself has been so unattractive to business that no firm has even attempted to open a facility.
Here's a rundown of the zoning amendment that was included in the last Town Meeting Agenda (page 16-22)
The Zones: "MS Medical Services District" & "GM Gateway Medical District" (page 16)
The Allowed Business Types: "Registered Recreational Marijuana Cultivators, Research Facilities and Independent Testing Laboratories" (Page 16). Craft Cooperatives are included, their Culitvator definition (Page 18) states "A Craft Marijuana Cooperative is a type of Marijuana Cultivator".
The Result: unless it's Research, Testing, or Cultivation AND in one of the 2 VERY small zones, it's BANNED!
How restrictive are these 2 zones?
Take a look, and you tell me if these look "business friendly" enough for a $1.8B MA industry...
2 zones for recreational cannabis, neither of them including the existing "Medical Marijuana Overlay" zone, or either of the 2 zones for Strip Clubs ("Adult-Use Overlay").
Let's zoom out and put that in perspective...
And how small IS that "GM Gateway Medical District"? Well, THIS small...
So let's not get excited about the inclusion of "Cultivation" and "Craft Marijuana Cooperative" because the zones don't provide adequate, cost effective space. And where is the farmland for Craft Cooperatives to be built on?
Perhaps most importantly, the "Microbusiness" license type is completely BANNED from all zones.
This is a category specifically designed to help small, Massachusetts-owned businesses move forward to help their communities grow. The Cannabis Control Commission's Guidance for Municipalities document clearly states:
"A Microbusiness is a co-located Tier 1 Marijuana Cultivator, and/or Marijuana Product Manufacturer limited to purchase 2,000 pounds of marijuana from other Marijuana Establishments in one year." (keeps big business out of this "wholesale-only" license type)
"A Microbusiness licensee shall not have an ownership stake in any other Marijuana Establishment and a majority of its executives or members must have been residents of Massachusetts for no less than 12 months prior to application is eligible to apply for a Microbusiness license." (ensures in-state ownership)
What does small cannabis business need to succeed in Barnstable?
For small business to move forward, we need a zoning article with a moratorium on Retail, and which is causing the most fear. People throw logic out the window when fear takes ahold of them. We need this to be a logic-based, business-oriented decision, because we need a business-oriented result: the creation of robust overlay districts for "Microbusiness" and "Craft Marijuana Cooperative" license categories, so our small businesses and farms, our friends and neighbors, can have first-mover advantage and a chance to succeed!
What can YOU do to support "Microbusiness" and "Craft Cooperatives" in Barnstable?
2 Critical Points to Make to Town Council:
1) A BAN is NOT a moratorium. It's a permanent action that will hobble the industry in Barnstable. Don't BAN any part of this new $1.8B MA industry, or the capital investment won't come here. It'll be seen as too risky! Use the tools at your disposal to "wait and see". Form an ad hoc committee to monitor the other categories of business, and retail in other towns. If you don't like what you see, you can still BAN before the moratorium expires June 30th, 2019.
2) Any article that doesn't include zoning amendments for the "Microbusiness" and "Craft Cultivation" license types does NOT Support Small Business in Barnstable. The CCC has given MA small business a big opportunity with those license types, and Barnstable entrepreneurs and business owners should be allowed -- nay, encouraged -- to bring those opportunities to the business hub of Cape Cod. Those licenses are not only non-consumer facing, but they also have caps on cultivation/production that ensure that they are "small footprint and low risk", which is exactly what the Council wants.
And PLEASE make sure to:
Attend & Speak Up: Town Council & Planning Board Joint Workshop 8/16 @ 7:00pm
Like/Share our Facebook Event: Barnstable Town Council & Planning Board Discuss Ban & Zoning
Sign our Change.org Petition: Support Small Business in Barnstable
Donate to our GoFundMe to support this campaign.