Grow, Gift, Repair


“It is unfortunate but the cost of the additional 2 percent tax will be passed on to the consumer and that it potentially conflicts with state law,” he wrote The Eagle in an email.

Lanesborough officials say their town counsel, KP Law of Boston, proposed the community benefit payment.

Parzybok and Kelman weren’t present Monday night when the Select Board finalized the host community agreement, which includes the standard 3 percent annual community impact fee on gross sales of all marijuana and marijuana products.

In addition, state regulations allow cities and towns to assess up to a 3 percent tax on retail sales only. Lanesborough voters approved a 3 percent sales tax at a special town meeting two years ago. All told, Lanesoborough would collect 8 percent in taxes/fees on retail; 5 percent on manufacturing. That compares to the typical 6 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in other communities.

Lanesborough’s stiffest competition for retail marijuana revenue dollars would come from Pittsfield, which only assesses the 3 percent community impact fee and an annual 3 percent tax or flat fee on retail sales, whichever produces the least revenue.

Lee, Williamstown and Great Barrington are the other Berkshire towns with retail recreational marijuana stores.

The Lanesborough Select Board has justified the added 2 percent fee/tax, in part, to capitalize on the initial public demand for recreational marijuana in the Berkshires. The board at its Monday meeting noted the $535,000 in local revenue that Great Barrington raked in from April 1 to June 30 from sales at Theory Wellness, the county’s first retail pot shop.

“I doubt we’ll see that kind of traffic here,” said Chairman John Goerlach.

“I doubt that, too,” added Selectman Henry “Hank” Sayers.

Kelman, under the name Royal Hemp LLC, plans to manufacture and sell cannabis-infused chocolate at the vacant, 3,135-square-foot Arizona Pizza building. Royal Hemp has bought the eatery, which closed in February 2018.

Since the proposed shop location is zoned for recreational marijuana production and retail, no special permit is needed.

But Kelman still must submit a site plan to the Planning Board for approval before he can apply for two licenses from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.