Grow, Gift, Repair

Top Cannabis lawyer and Commissioner discuss issues

Smith, who has been negotiating host agreements with communities for his firm’s clients, said some cities and towns are looking to extract more than the statutorily allowed 3 percent local tax and 3 percent cost mitigation agreement and that is hampering some companies’ abilities to open facilities. He said the demands are akin to shakedowns because there’s relatively little cost for the town associated with opening these kinds of stores, no more than a convenience store or a liquor store.

“We’re running into that everywhere; they want 4 percent, they want side deals,” said Smith.

Flanagan said the commission has heard about the higher demands but says there’s nothing they can do about it. They don’t see the agreements, only notice that one is reached as required by law. But, she said, the anecdotes concern her.

“I think there are some cities and towns that need more education,” she said. “It causes me concern that people are trying to milk the system for more money.”

Both Flanagan and Smith said the impact on communities of a ruling by Attorney General Maura Healey allowing Mansfield to extend its moratorium until next June will have minimal impact. They agreed the ruling was narrowly focused on Mansfield and unlikely to have a wider application.

“Mansfield might have been a unique situation,” Smith said.