The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy voted Jan. 24 to advance legislation that would more heavily regulate host community agreements, or the arrangements between municipalities and the cannabis businesses they host.
The agreements are a necessary step in the licensing process for cannabis businesses, but the state’s Cannabis Control Commission has not had the authority to oversee the agreements, according to a MassLive.com report.
Issues with the agreements were brought into the national spotlight in September, when Falls River Mayor Jasiel Correia was arrested for extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from cannabis businesses by accepting bribes in exchange for license approval.
The new legislation would authorize the Cannabis Control Commission to review and regulate host community agreements and would allow a municipality to waive the requirement to have one at all, according to MassLive.com. The bill would also clarify that the five-year duration of the agreement begins on the day the business starts its operations, and would specify that no financial obligations are permitted in the agreements except the maximum 3% of gross sales that a municipality can request from the business to offset its local impacts.
Clerks for the Massachusetts House and Senate will determine which committee the bill is sent to next sometime this week, MassLive.com reported.