I live in Massachusetts, where we’ve legalized the adult use of cannabis. This means many things to many people across the state. Towns and the people who run them have to implement these new marijuana establishments, which I predict will be actually a very quiet roll out.
This will be a respectful addition to the business community in Massachusetts.
I primarily advise patients and strongly believe in the medicinal uses of cannabis. I’m a conservative user and a proponent of cannabis because I really believe that, when done properly, it can help many people and ultimately reduce opiates.
Opiates are a pain medication that can harm communities, and cannabis is an alternative, proven, and effective analgesic (it can reduce pain). That’s why I believe Massachusetts voted in favor of the law and it’s important to implement it in towns.
The Local Level
First of all, it’s important for towns to know rules and regulations have been thoroughly thought out on the state level, and that no dispensary, retail shop, or any kind of licensed entity can get up and running without the town being intimately involved.
The state has provided a very solid framework. I encourage anyone to just Google “Massachusetts adult use marijuana regulations” and you will find what the state has written. It’s nearly 100 pages of very important and stringent laws around cannabis. Towns must create special permits and sometimes change their bylaws for certain establishments or industrial areas to be inhabited by these Licensed Marijuana Establishments (LME).
One benefit is that there must be a host agreement, in which the town and the LME essentially work out a percentage of the LME’s gross profits that goes to the town’s budget. So, if a million-dollar business wants to start in your town (say a cultivator wants to start a business in an industrial building) that could mean as much as $30,000 given to the town if this cultivator can be up and running. That town would never see that marijuana. It would be delivered to other towns that have legalized retail shops.
It’s important to understand that towns have control. They can have conversations with people in the industry and come to agreements with these LMEs about their level of production and what they can implement within the boundaries of your town. Then it can have a positive financial impact without anyone having to interact with the entity.
The towns and LMEs must also have an outreach meeting so people in the community can ask questions and really debate before they permit it in a town. Many towns in Massachusetts have created a moratorium. They just don’t want to talk about it or allow anything in their town. But it’s important for towns to realize that they have a lot of power in the situation. If they say no to any establishments in their town limits they are preventing economic opportunity, jobs, and often the renewal of abandoned buildings in blighted areas.
I encourage people to get educated. I work with a network of accountants, legal counsel, and business development people to help towns roll out this industry smoothly and appropriately.