Mayor Bernard is hitting the ground running and one of the new Mayors first actions will be to institute a working group to develop retail marijuana ordinances.

I berkshires.com reports that in a communication to the City Council, the mayor said he expects the working group to meet at least three times during the month of January and provide a draft to the council in February.

"I'm hoping for them to give a first look and an opportunity for public input into a draft ordinance," Bernard said on Thursday. "We've got some technical assistance from Berkshire Regional Planning [Commission] to draft the language of the ordinance."

About 10 members will include two residents and representatives from city departments and boards: Office of Community Development, Police Department, Health Department, Public Schools, City Council, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Board of Health.

Their role would be to develop a draft ordinance, hold a public hearing, make any adjustments based on that feedback and deliver the draft to the administration.

Bernard is hoping that this group, would have something to bring forward to council with the hope they would refer it to committee and, as with the proposed moratorium at the end of the year, trigger a public hearing for input,"  with a final vote, hopefully, by the end of March.

Iberkshires.com reports the  mayor said his expectation is that the ordinance would outline where and when cannabis could be cultivated, processed and sold within the city's existing zoning. The working group would meet Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 6:30 to review materials based on the state's Cannabis Control Commission guidelines; hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 6:30; and meet finally on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 6:30 to review and edit the final proposal.

 

The 2016 ballot question on legalizing recreational marijuana was passed by every community in the Berkshires, and by 62 percent in North Adams.