BOS to approve Host Agreement with Medical Marijuana dispensary; terms include financial incentives and safety measures

by beth on April 5, 2016

Tonight’s, the Board of Selectmen will likely approve a Host Community Agreement for the Medical Marijuana dispensary coming to 255 Turnpike Drive.

The draft agreement with CommCan, Inc. specifies payments to the Town, anti-diversion tactics, and more. Town Administrator Mark Purple confirmed that the business has agreed to the terms.

CommCan promised to compensate the Town when they asked for the board’s letter of non-opposition. An agreement with selectmen was also part of the terms of the special permit under the Zoning Board of Approvals. Conditions by the ZBA included working with the police chief to incorporate safety measures into the agreement.

The agreement is on tonight’s BOS agenda.

Here are the deal highlights: 

  • Financial terms and incentives
    • After 1-year grace period, Town earns 3% of gross sales revenue per year, capped at $500,000 per year (for at least 3 years)
    • 1 year from opening, $50,000 payment – to be credited to above earnings
    • 2 years from opening, $50,000 payment to fund a school drug education program and/or be used for police to purchase capital items pertaining to the dispensary
    • 4 from opening, the agreement can be reopened for negotiations to ensure financial terms are equitable
    • No tax-exempt status will be sought for the property
    • Commitment to prioritize hiring local vendors, suppliers, contractors or builders from Southborough area when possible
  • Safety/security measures
    • BOS, consulting with Police Chief, have right to approve “suitable character” of on-site managers after CORI checks
    • A Traffic Management Plan (showing preferred routes for access)  will be developed with police and provided to all patients
    • Periodic meetings with police to review operational concerns
    • Commitment to communicate any suspicious activities to police
    • Implement a comprehensive diversion prevention plan with police (e.g., training employees to observe unusual behavior; not selling to patient/caregiver who appears under the influence; stopping sale to customer requesting additional meds by cajoling, coercing or claiming prior purchase lost/damaged)
  • Other legalities
    • Agreement only applies to medical marijuana dispensary. No promise made to allow sale of non-medical marijuana at the site. If state law makes sale of non-medical marijuana at the site legal, a new agreement must first be reached.
    • The agreement is non-transferrable
    • Agreement can be terminated by the Town or if CommCan ceases operations

For the full draft agreement, click here.

1 Resident April 5, 2016 at 12:34 PM

Wow. Kudos to the BOS. I am very impressed with this agreement and their negotiation efforts. Well done.

2 SB Resident April 5, 2016 at 1:11 PM

Does anyone know what the signage requirements are? I’m surprised to not see any requirements in this agreement. I think requiring the dispensary to be extremely discrete would ease a lot of minds. I have a feeling this place could be completely unmarked and somehow it’s patrons would find it.

3 beth April 5, 2016 at 2:26 PM

I don’t have the details at my fingertips. But my understanding is that the state regulation prohibits a sign advertising the business.

4 Tim Martel April 5, 2016 at 4:46 PM

I couldn’t find any state regulations that prohibit a sign, though I didn’t search extensively. The town’s medical marijuana bylaw reads as such, “Any permitted registered marijuana dispensary site shall comply with the requirements of the Town’s Sign Bylaw…”

5 beth April 5, 2016 at 8:00 PM

It looks like I was wrong. What I remembered is that they can’t use signs to advertise that it’s a medical marijuana dispensary. They can have a sign posting the name of the dispensary though.

I found a website that claims Massachusetts has rules that include the following:

(1) A Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) may develop a logo to be used in labeling, signage, and other materials. Use of medical symbols, images of marijuana, related paraphernalia, and colloquial references to cannabis and marijuana are prohibited from use in this logo.

(2) RMD external signage shall not be illuminated except for a period of 30 minutes before sundown until closing, and shall comply with local requirements regarding signage, provided however that the Department may further specify minimum signage requirements. Neon signage is prohibited at all times.

(3) A RMD shall not display on the exterior of the facility advertisements for marijuana or any brand name, and may only identify the building by the registered name.

(4) A RMD shall not utilize graphics related to marijuana or paraphernalia on the exterior of the RMD or the building in which the RMD is located.

6 Souse Bro April 6, 2016 at 10:23 AM

I can see one BIG problem with this. There is no provisions for the number of pin-ball machines for the many spoiled middle school brats who will walk the 650 ft. to hang around a medical facility on Rt. 9 after school rather than go home and do chores or God forbid homework. No wonder their parents are outraged. Whatever happened to the joy of a new treatment for the very sick and elderly. Most, not all, of the users will be driven by caretakers. I lost my Mother to cancer, too old for chemo. If this was available then it might just have been a blessing for the last months when she was at home in her own bed. Put more interest in your kids activities than in NIMBY…just saying.

7 raul duke April 6, 2016 at 6:57 PM

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.
We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.
There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.
We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, reducing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use. Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.
But that would leave their citizens vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be in the White House and chooses to enforce or not enforce the federal law.
The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.
There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the “Reefer Madness” images of murder, rape and suicide.
There are legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains. For that reason, we advocate the prohibition of sales to people under 21.
Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.
In coming days, we will publish articles by members of the Editorial Board and supplementary material that will examine these questions. We invite readers to offer their ideas, and we will report back on their responses, pro and con.
We recognize that this Congress is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues. But it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition.

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