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New Bill to Give MA Cannabis Control Commission More Power

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Bill H 4367 would give the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission the power to host review, enforce and regulate contracts between marijuana businesses and host communities. Lawmakers voted unanimously to support this bill, which is now in the hands of the House of Representatives.

Host community agreements (also called HCAs) can be difficult to navigate and have caused some clashes between community and state marijuana laws already, MassLive reported. Some cities have required more from a marijuana business than the state. When that happens, small mom-and-pop marijuana businesses can’t survive against corporate marijuana businesses.

Host Community Agreements can only be valid for 5 years. All marijuana businesses are required to have an agreement with their host communities. Host Communities are permitted to charge community impact fees. Those fees cannot be more than 3% of the total gross sales of the marijuana business.

Additional legislation seeks to waive requirements for HCAs and prohibit HCAs from charging more than the 3% impact fee.

Commissioner Kay Doyle said, “To be able to take substantive action on these payments we are going to have to, in my opinion, go back to the Legislature. We are in a place where our regulatory authority is not very clear. If we are challenged doing this, we would face increased scrutiny by the court and an uphill battle. Rather than engage in litigation that ties up commonwealth resources, I think it makes more sense to go back to the Legislature and talk about what needs to be done to address the problem.”

These pieces of legislation are expected to see more movement this week and next.