The Botanist’s applications for retail stores in Worcester and Shrewsbury were initially up for a vote by the Cannabis Control Commission in February, but the vote was tabled so staff could investigate Acreage’s ownership and control of other companies and whether a license cap would be violated.
Acreage has owned several management companies, including High Street Capital Partners, LLC, and MA RMD SVCS, LLC, that provide services to marijuana applicants. High Street Capital Partners is a party to certain contractual arrangements with Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard, and MA RMD SVCS is a party to some contractual arrangements with Health Circle, Inc. PCMV and Health Circle are in the application process.
State law only allows for a marijuana company to own or control three stores. If license applications for The Botanist and affiliates were all approved, Acreage would have gone above the cap. But in February, Acreage restructured contractual arrangements between itself and its affiliates.
CCC investigation and enforcement staff say that because of the restructuring, they believe Acreage does not exercise control over either affiliate in question, according to a memorandum, dated March 24.
Between February and now, commission staff dedicated significant resources to investigating Acreage and its affiliates, commissioners and staff members said during the CCC’s public meeting on Thursday, which was held virtually and live-streamed.
Instead of voting on provisional licenses for The Botanist, Commissioner Shaleen Title asked for a motion to put off a vote and ask the commission staff to come back with a recommendation on how to proceed.
“I’m not comfortable making a decision today that might encourage other companies to submit an application like the one we saw in February, use significant resources of the commission and then be able to make changes and move forward as though nothing had happened,” Title said during the meeting.
Commissioners Title, Kay Doyle and Britte McBride voted in favor of the motion. Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan and Chairman Steven Hoffman voted against the motion.
“I think we did our research. The applicant had undone some of the management contracts that were questionable in our opinion and so I thought that we should have had a separate vote on the licenses and a separate vote on what penalties, if any,” Hoffman told reporters after the meeting.
Acreage executed a series of agreements restructuring the contractual arrangements between itself and its affiliates on Feb. 13 and 14. Because of those agreements, Acreage no longer exercises control over either affiliate and therefore would no go over the state’s cap on retail shops, the CCC memorandum read.