With recreational Marijuana inching closer to reality, the City of Pittsfield, and the rest of Berkshire County, are busy developing regulations for retail sales and cultivation. While I think it's pretty simple, just regulate retail sales the same way package stores are regulated, for many local municipalities, it's not that black and white.

Pittsfield held it's first public hearing on the amendment that would specify regulations for retail marijuana sales, which The Community Development Board has officially recommended to the city. The next step is for the City Council to review the amendment at a public hearing on April 10 at 7 p.m. in City Hall. Statewide, recreational stores and facilities may begin applying for licenses in April, and the first licenses will be issued in June, just weeks before the first stores are set to open on July 1st.

The amendment unanimously recommended by The Community Development Board, will limit the number of recreational marijuana shops in the city to ten. Under the regulations, marijuana operations of any kind (medical, cultivation, retail, etc) will not be allowed within 500 feet of a school, playground or licensed day care.  Marijuana shops, manufacturing outfits and research facilities would only be allowed in the city's commercial and industrial districts.

Among the proposed regulations for the cultivation of marijuana, the board recommends allowing outdoor cultivation in low-density residential neighborhoods and industrial zones, with requirements that plants be 50 feet from the property line. Outdoor plants would only be permitted on areas of land that are at least five acres, with the stipulation that the plants be enclosed within a 6-foot fence. In residential areas, the city would require "a continuous screen" along any abutting property lines.