Fix urgently needed for Bay State’s legalization law

Feb 03, 2020

Bay State, cannabis businesses, Cannabis Control Commission, Cannabis Policy Committee, cannabis regulation, equity, H 3536, HCAs, host community agreements, implementation, legalization, localities, MA, Massachusetts, northeast, retail cannabis stores, retail stores, S 1126, social equity, Tax and Regulate

Fix urgently needed for Bay State’s legalization law

Controversial host community agreements have compromised the program’s swift and equitable implementation — tell state legislators it’s time for the Cannabis Control Commission to review and regulate these agreements!

There are now more than 30 cannabis retail stores operating in Massachusetts, and the state recorded over $400 million in sales in 2019. These are the first retail stores serving adults in the northeast, and we know that this is only the beginning of what will become a robust market throughout the region.

Unfortunately, the rollout of the program has been frustrating for many Bay Staters, especially those who are trying to get businesses up and running. In particular, the requirement that applicants sign host community agreements (HCAs) with municipalities has created significant problems, especially for smaller businesses. HCAs detail benefits cannabis businesses must provide to a locality, such as fees and “voluntary” donations. They are typically negotiated between individual business applicants and the locality, rather than localities having generally applicable terms.

Massachusetts law already caps the amount of financial benefits HCAs may require, but the Cannabis Control Commission has not reviewed HCAs to ensure compliance. There have been many reports of HCAs exceeding the limits of the law. Fortunately, the legislature’s Cannabis Policy Committee has advanced a bill, S 1126/H 3536, that would clarify the rules for HCAs and give the Cannabis Control Commission express authority to regulate them.

Please contact your state legislators and urge them to support this urgently needed reform!

Then, please share this message with your family and friends.