At its Dec. 4 meeting, the Finance Committee approved a fee structure for the necessary licenses for recreational marijuana sales. As currently written, applicants would need to pay a $200 fee to apply, $750 upon the granting to the necessary special permit and $3,500 annually to renew the license.
The committee derived the fees from what is currently in place for liquor stores. Those retailers pay the same application and special permit fees, but pay a lower annually fee of $2,500.
“Their licenses are a lot more valuable than liquor,” said Finance Chairman Councilor Paul Condon, explaining the annual renewal increase. “I don’t think we need to be consistent [with the liquor license fees].”
The matter was referred out of the Finance Committee and then sent to the Ordinance Committee, so that it could be incorporated into that body’s discussions of the licensing process.
One aspect of that process was briefly debated by Ordinance later that evening, as the body came to a consensus on the makeup of the marijuana license-granting committee.
Ordinance was previously leaning towards adding marijuana licenses to the existing alcohol licensing board, but discovered at a meeting last month that state regulations prohibit that board from doing anything other than alcohol licenses.
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The new composition, proposed by Councilor Stephen Winslow, calls for a three-member board that includes a member of the Board of Health or someone with a similar health background, a member of the alcohol license board or someone with a similar licensing background and someone with a business background. Each seat would serve three year terms and would be appointed by the mayor with council approval.
In order to stagger the initial terms, the license member would serve three years, the health member would serve two years and the business member would serve one year, with each subsequent term being the full three years.
Since the board would only have three members, the committee also discussed what to do in the case of an absence. Councilor Craig Spadafora suggested adding an alternate member, who would be able to vote should another member be absent. Councilor John Matheson also brought up attendance requirements for members, which would allow members to be replaced more easily if needed.