MASSACHUSETTS MJ RETAILER SUES CITY OVER ‘COMMUNITY IMPACT’ FEE

In #Massachusetts, a local #cannabis retailer sues the city of #Haverhill over a 400,000 #dollar #payment, in the latest challenge to the state’s controversial “community impact” fees for #marijuana #businesses. In a lawsuit filed in Essex Superior Court, #adult-use dispensary Stem is arguing their host city is violating Massachusetts law by refusing to justify the need for the steep reimbursement. Under the state’s host community agreement policy, cannabis shops may be required to pay as much as 3 percent of their annual #revenue to their local jurisdiction in order to mitigate costs associated with marijuana operations, such as the hiring of additional police officers for extra security or traffic monitoring. Despite the stipulation that cities must demonstrate the need for such reimbursements, industry experts say most municipalities are asking for the maximum 3 percent without providing evidence of where the #money is going. #CEO of the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association David O’Brian equates the fees to legal extortion, and says nearly all of the state’s licensed marijuana operators are experiencing the same issue. This comes after #Northampton became the first city in Massachusetts to eliminate the fees altogether in #January, on the basis they were not needed and acted as an impediment to small business participation in the market. The lawsuit from Stem, which is seeking documentation to substantiate the 400,000 #dollar cost, is expected to go before a judge by the end of #May.

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William Bradley

William Bradley

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