Grow, Gift, Repair

HCA investigation?

At least six communities — Great Barrington, Eastham, Leicester, Newton, Northampton, and Uxbridge — confirmed Monday they have received subpoenas from Lelling’s office seeking information about so-called host community agreements.

The controversial contracts, which each recreational marijuana firm must sign with the community in which it hopes to operate before applying for a state license, typically call for substantial payments to the municipality. Critics have long charged that local officials frequently demand more money than allowed under state law and that the state’s system of strong local control over cannabis companies is ripe for corruption.

A spokeswoman for Lelling’s office declined to comment and would not say how many subpoenas had been issued. However, it appears likely the investigation extends well beyond those six communities. Several marijuana industry lawyers and local officials said a substantial number of other municipalities have also received the same request.

A copy of one of the subpoenas obtained by the Globe references a mid-November grand jury hearing led by Assistant US Attorney Mark Grady, a member of Lelling’s public corruption unit.

It seeks a variety of documents: copies of host community agreements, including unsigned early drafts; all communications between marijuana companies and local officials, plus e-mails and other communications among officials regarding the agreements; records indicating community support or opposition to proposals for local marijuana facilities; records regarding current and former municipal employees or officials attempting to win local marijuana permits or working for marijuana firms; and records about public meetings or votes on applications by marijuana firms for local approval.