Grow, Gift, Repair

Nice article on some of the inner workings of dispensary lobbying

Kamani Jefferson, president of the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council, said he is worried about issues of equity, since bans like Milford’s will prevent new businesses from competing with established dispensaries.

“Dispensaries can lobby towns to say no to new businesses; other than the people who already spent millions of dollars,” Jefferson said.

Milford had multiple votes — first banning all marijuana businesses, then agreeing to make an exception for the two businesses that are already open. Milford will not have any retail marijuana shops, but only the growing and testing facilities.

The two companies had argued that they are already creating jobs and operating without incident in Milford. Company officials said they would have to relocate in order to remain competitive if the town banned them from doing business with the recreational marijuana industry.

In Newton, the city is already home to one operating medical marijuana dispensary, Garden Remedies. The city council there voted to put in place a moratorium on new marijuana businesses through the end of the year. But city officials will allow Garden Remedies to apply for a license to sell recreational marijuana.

City councilors said the idea was to see the impact of a recreational marijuana shop on consumers, traffic, security and the community. The city councilors can then decide how to deal with future marijuana businesses, based on their experiences with Garden Remedies.

There was debate over the issue, but the final vote was unanimous among the 20 of 24 aldermen who attended the vote.

“One thing that was said several times was by giving Garden Remedies an exemption to the moratorium, we would have one facility that would test things out and see how things were going on the recreational side before going full blown recreational,” said Newton clerk of the council David Olson.