Massachusetts urges revamp of scrutinized municipal marijuana pacts

Accords between Massachusetts municipalities and marijuana businesses, known as host community agreements (HCA), would be solely reviewed and regulated by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission under a redrafted bill.

The state’s Cannabis Policy Committee, which advanced the proposed legislation, said the bill would:

  • Allow a municipality to waive the requirement to have an HCA.
  • Not allow an HCA to require any financial obligation beyond the maximum 3% gross sales fee.
  • Clarify that the five-year term starts on the day the business opens its doors.

“The legal framework for the new marijuana market is supposed to strike a balance across multiple goals – competing out the illicit market, local and restorative economic development, public revenue generation and public health and safety among them. Unrestrained and expensive host community agreements that have become common over the past year have compromised multiple of those goals,” said state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, the Senate committee’s chair, according to the State House News Service.

“The bill the Cannabis Policy Committee is reporting out … seeks to put more explicit guard rails on the development of HCAs, to restore balance to the market and enable entrepreneurs who don’t have $1 million in starting capital to still have a chance at competing.”

HCAs were scrutinized by investigators in November after Massachusetts cannabis companies complained they were unfair and expensive.

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