No one raised an eyebrow in March when Uxbridge Planning Board Vice Chairman Barry Desruisseaux appeared before the Board of Selectmen for a host community agreement for his proposed drive-in pot shop, Ironstone Express Inc. The business, which has a retail license application pending before the CCC, would be in the site of Mr. Desruisseaux’s car wash at 454 Quaker Highway.
Mr. Desruisseaux said he didn’t face conflict of interest issues because the Planning Board doesn’t have a say on marijuana establishments, as long as they’re properly zoned.
“I’m just a guy,” he said. “I went through the exact same thing” as any other applicant.
Uxbridge also relies on a standard host community agreement, with the maximum allowable 3% of gross retail sales going to the town for impact payments. The town also receives 3% local sales tax on retail sales.
Whether or not an individual municipal official stands to profit from legalized marijuana, some in the industry claim the existing host community agreement requirement outlined in state regulations is more disturbing.
“I applaud U.S. Attorney (Andrew) Lelling for bringing forward charges in a classic municipal pay-for-play bribery scheme,” wrote James Borghesani, former communications director for the 2016 cannabis legalization campaign, in a statement Friday, following the Fall River mayor’s arrest. “But I hope that this egregious example does not eclipse the similar financial shakedowns on the cannabis industry present in nearly every host community agreement signed to date in Massachusetts. Lelling has set a good example for the CCC and state leaders to follow.”