Haverhill Councilors Agree to Spend Cannabis Shop Impact Fee Money on Survey Analysis

Dr. John L. Maddox, Haverhill school physician. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council agreed Tuesday night to a pair money transfers to pay for the analysis of several risk behavior surveys to be used as a basis for developing strategies to fight youth substance abuse.

Councilors agreed to requests by Mayor James J. Fiorentini to move just under $171,000 from the city’s “Cannabis Local Impact Fees Escrow” account to the city’s Youth Activities/Mental Health Stabilization Fund and $42,000 of that money to help pay for the survey analysis. City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. told councilors the money is a fair use of impact fees paid by cannabis shops.

“This money comes from, essentially, what we feel expenses the city has incurred in implementing the zoning provisions and also in start-up expenses, if you will, in working with the dispensaries, negotiating the host community agreements. Those kinds of expenses,” he said.

The city is currently fighting a lawsuit brought by Stem, 124 Washington St., which argues the city must prove there have been adverse impacts from hosting adult-use cannabis retailers.

School physician Dr. John L. Maddox asked councilors earlier this month to pay for analyses of four surveys dating back to 2013. Fiorentini said the analysis is instrumental for the city to qualify for a Drug Free America grant.

The Council voted 8-0 to approve the transfers with Councilor Michael S. McGonagle abstaining due to a possible conflict of interest.

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