Grow, Gift, Repair

More drama in Fall River

“The associated charges brought forth by the United States District Attorney in an eleven-count indictment indicate that the process of securing such licenses and host agreements may have been undermined,” Rep. Carole Fiola, Rep. Paul Schmid and Rep. Alan Silvia wrote in their co-authored letter. “The alleged actions of the Mayor in the issuance of the letters of non-opposition of community host agreements appear to have been compromised.”

In total, Correia signed the two documents for 14 planned dispensaries and other cannabis-related facilities in Fall River. Thus far, only one, Northeast Alternatives on William S. Canning Boulevard near the Rhode Island line, has cleared all hurdles to open for recreational sales. Thirteen applications are pending in various other stages. At least one other business, Regeneration LLC, is waiting for Correia’s approval.

Fiola, Schmid and Silvia have requested the CCC suspend acceptance of the pending applications.

“We respectfully request that the approval of any pending retail or medical marijuana application in the City of Fall River be temporarily delayed and a moratorium on the issuance of such licenses be enacted until such time that the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has an opportunity to fully digest, investigate and make a determination as to what impact the alleged actions identified within the indictment had on the issuance of letters of non-opposition and community host agreement negotiations,” the legislators wrote.

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Though it remains to be seen what actions the CCC may take, a spokesperson for the agency confirmed on the day of the mayor’s arrest that commissioners were reviewing Correia’s most recent indictment.

The representatives’ letter also alludes to there being “many outstanding questions” regarding Fall River’s municipal approval process for cannabis business applicants. The letter questions whether the documents issued so far in Fall River were done so in a “legally binding fashion given the circumstances.”

The representatives also wrote: “In addition, questions arise as to whether other parties interested in establishing retail and/or medical marijuana facilities were denied letters of non-opposition because they refused to participate in the alleged nefarious action of Mayor Correia. Questions arise as to what recourse these parties have against the City and/or the Cannabis Commission if licenses were to be approved under these conditions?”

The letter from Fiola, Schmid and Silvia comes as Fall River becomes something of a case study in Massachusetts’ ongoing discussion of how the cannabis industry should be regulated.