Massachusetts advances bill to better regulate cannabis company fees

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The oversight of payments that Massachusetts marijuana companies make to the municipalities in which they do business would be tightened under a bill approved Wednesday by the state’s House of Representatives.

The measure now moves to the state Senate.

If the Senate passes the bill and the governor signs it, the new law would give the state’s Cannabis Control Commission the power to review, regulate and enforce “host community agreements.”

Under Massachusetts law, each marijuana firm must sign an agreement with the community in which it plans to operate before applying for a state license.

Some local officials have used the contracts to demand more money from companies than is allowed under state law, according to some critics.

In fact, a study by a Boston law firm in January 2019 determined that almost four out of five “host community agreements” are illegal.

Under the existing law, fees that communities charge must be related to the costs imposed on the city or town by the operation of the marijuana company and can’t amount to more than 3% of the firm’s gross sales of the business. The fee remains in effect for five years.

– Associated Press