“[The] by-law requirements are so clearly onerous and impractical . . . that a reasonably prudent businessperson would not choose to operate a marijuana establishment,” Healey wrote in the Jan. 15 decision.
Healey said it would be unreasonable to conduct “protracted and time-consuming” negotiations at town meeting for a host community agreement, which state law requires firms to have before applying for a license.
Usually, host agreements are negotiated by representatives formunicipalities and for the business, Healey said, but at town meeting, “there is no ‘representative’ of town meeting who could agree to terms on behalf of town meeting before the town meeting vote takes place.”
Citing similar concerns, Healey also disapproved language that would have nullified any prior contracts signed by the town’s Board of Selectmen that were deemed noncompliant with state law.
The decision by Healey doesn’t affect Valley Green Grow’s plans to build a 1-million-square-foot indoor growing facility on the site of Charlton Orchards Farm & Winery, said the company’s attorney, Michael Rosen. However, the fate of the $100 million project is far from clear, as it awaits decisions by a land court and a planning board before it could potentially move forward.
Amid vocal complaints from neighbors, the town’s planning board earlier this month rejected the company’s site plan, a key approval it needed.