MA regulators reject plan to review pacts between localities, marijuana firms

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Massachusetts’ top marijuana regulator rejected a proposal that would have allowed the agency to review agreements between municipalities and MJ firms – an arrangement that critics charge violates state law and puts smaller operators at a disadvantage.

Thursday’s vote by the five-member Cannabis Control Commission followed an earlier request by commissioner Shaleen Title, a critic of the so-called “host community agreements,” according to

The vote came on the heels of a Boston Globe report that found that all 19 provisional licenses issued by the commission were tied to nine host-community agreements between marijuana businesses and municipalities.

The Globe also reported that the agreements appear to violate rules on how much money municipalities can receive from marijuana businesses, how long the contracts can endure and other provisions.

Dozens of other agreements for pending license applications also seem to be in violation of the law, the Globe reported.

Under Massachusetts regulations, cannabis firm payments to municipalities cannot exceed 3% of a company’s annual revenue, and the money must cover expenses caused by the marijuana business in question, such as an extra police officer. State law also limits the agreements to five years.

But “few – if any” contracts comply with those provisions, according to the Globe.

Commissioners are required by state law to check that contracts have been signed, but they’re not required to review the documents, the newspaper reported.