On Thursday the Cannabis Control Commission voted to submit a report to the Legislature asking for clarification of what payments should be allowed in host community agreements, or even if such agreements should be mandatory. The report was compiled by Kay Doyle, one of the five commissioners.
The contracts are mandatory for a marijuana business to apply for a marijuana license from the state. But despite a state law limiting so called “community impact fees” to no more than 3 percent of gross sales from a medical or recreational marijuana business, many towns have been demanding additional fees above that 3 percent limit. Marijuana advocates, smaller cannabis entrepreneurs, legislative leaders and one commissioner maintain that such fees are illegal.
The commission is asking the Legislature to not only give the commission explicit authority to oversee the contracts, but to clarify what the 3 percent cap should include. Doyle’s report also questioned if the contracts should be at the discretion of the town, rather than a required part of the licensure process.
“Rather than waste everyone’s time and money on (a legal fight), lets … clarify that issue and have a discussion about what the scope of that regulatory authority would be,” Doyle said.
Commissioner Shaleen Title, the lone dissenting vote, has subsequently voted against all final licenses for marijuana establishments that have contacts she feels violate the spirit of state law, saying the excess fees benefit large marijuana corporations who can afford the higher cost of entry.