“As The Beacon went to press, there were at least 95 completed marijuana license applications pending before the CCC. Presumably, all of these applications are accompanied by an HCA that was mutually agreed to by the applicants and their host communities. It’s good news that many of these include support for education, health, and other initiatives to benefit and advance the public interest. Examples include donations to local nonprofits to provide drug and alcohol education in schools, community education and outreach initiatives, and other worthy endeavors. The state should be encouraging these arrangements, not dampening the opportunity for public benefits.
The MMA opposes state intrusion into the HCA process, and is urging the CCC and legislators to resist pressure from the marijuana industry’s lobbyists. Contracting between local governments and private entities is a long-established practice, and state interference could have long-term effects on the ability of municipalities to contract freely, even outside the marijuana industry. Additionally, it is likely that once the marijuana industry becomes more established in Massachusetts, and the market becomes saturated, private marijuana firms will gain the upper hand in the negotiations. Tying the hands of municipalities now would severely limit their ability to come to the table as equals later, and could undermine local government’s ability to represent the public’s interest in a balanced setting.
As noted above, the implementation of new zoning bylaws and ordinances takes time, and municipalities should be afforded latitude to establish the marijuana industry in a way that is agreeable to the constituents in their respective communities. This includes the ability to properly vet private marijuana establishments and negotiate agreeable terms in host community agreements.
It seems more than a bit ironic that the marijuana lobby is using alarmist tactics to heighten tension, politicize, and add stress on this issue. We hope that the CCC and Legislature will continue to stand strong against pressure from the cannabis industry to short-circuit the public process, since the industry’s clear motive is to advance its own private interests.”