Massachusetts town returns $1.2 million in impact fees to marijuana business

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A groundswell is developing in Massachusetts that might lead several municipalities to return millions of dollars of community impact fees to marijuana businesses.

Retailer Caroline’s Cannabis last week reached a $1.2 million settlement with the town of Uxbridge in a ruling that could spur similar wins for industry operators statewide, according to the Franklin Observer.

The lawsuit, filed in April 2022, alleged the town failed to provide any documentation – as required by state law – to justify a host community agreement (HCA) fee.

“I’m happy that we were able to come to a mutual agreement,” Caroline Frankel, owner of Caroline’s Cannabis, told the Observer.

“Unfortunately, it took litigation for the town to recognize there are no known impacts, and to resolve the case. This case should help other operators and municipalities to work out an agreement.”

According to a 2022 report, 47 Massachusetts municipalities collected $53.3 million in impact fees from operators since 2018.

In 2022, Massachusetts’ then-governor signed a marijuana reform bill intended to give the state’s Cannabis Control Commission more oversight over so-called host community agreements HCAs and to allow businesses to renegotiate them.

In November 2022, Boston returned $2.9 million in impact fees to nine cannabis shops in the city, the Observer reported.