Cannabis Control Commission Pushes for More Clarity in Host Community Agreements

(File photograph)

Haverhill has signed agreements with three potential marijuana shop owners, who will soon petition the City Council for special permits. (File photograph)

State law around the required contracts between marijuana companies and their host communities is not clear enough, the Cannabis Control Commission concluded earlier this month as it agreed to formally request that the Legislature amend the law to give it the power to review and regulate the contracts.

According to the State House News Service, the CCC has wrestled with the issue of host community agreements for months as activists and business owners point to the required agreements as one reason for the slower-than-anticipated rollout of the retail marijuana market.

Haverhill’s Mayor James J. Fiorentini has signed agreements with three potential vendors hoping to do business in the city: Stem, CNA Stores and Full Harvest Moonz. Should the special permitting process and state licensing phases run smoothly, Haverhill could see a retail marijuana shop open in July.

Because the CCC will not consider a license application until an HCA has been executed, businesses say municipalities are using the required agreements to extract more than three percent of the marijuana business’s gross sales, the cap in place under the law. As part of Haverhill’s agreements, each vendor must donate $25,000 annually to charity.

In petitioning Beacon Hill lawmakers to “seek statutory authority to review and regulate” host community agreements, the CCC has also suggested making the legally binding documents optional at the discretion of municipalities.