BOS to vote on updated Host Agreement with CommCan tonight

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

If that seems like deja vu – Yes, I posted that same statement on April 5th.

For the second time, the board is scheduled to vote on a draft agreement with CommCan, Inc.. The version now up for vote includes a concession asked for by selectmen Dan Kolenda and Bonnie Phaneuf.

The board members were concerned about the delay in funding drug abuse prevention education. Initially, the Town had to wait one year for any funds and two years for funds earmarked for that purpose. Chair John Rooney and Selectman Brian Shea agreed to go back to the table and ask for changes.

It looks like the dispensary owners agreed to make an up front payment of $15,000 to be used for education and/or policing. That money will be deducted from later payments to the Town for earnings.

The amount earmarked for education/policing has also been upped from a one time $50k payment to an annual payment of $50k after two years. 

The revised draft still gives the Town a 3% kickback up to $500k annually, after a 1 year grace period.

An agreement with selectmen, incorporating police chief suggested safety measures, was part of the conditions of the special permit granted by the Zoning Board of Approvals.

The agreement is on tonight’s BOS agenda under Consent Agenda Items. (That means selectmen may opt to vote without further discussion.)

For those of you interested in attending or watching – Tonight’s 6:30 pm meeting won’t be held in the Town House hearing room or broadcast live. (Both are reserved for the Planning Board meeting starting at 7:00 pm.) 

The board will convene at the Senior Center/Cordaville Hall. Southborough Access Media will record the meeting for later broadcast.

Here are the updated 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)
    • After 2 years, additional $50,000 annually to fund prevention and intervention education through school substance abuse and mental health programs and/or be used for police expenses pertaining to the dispensary
    • 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
    • The agreement will be reopened for renegotiations “on the first date of the third year after the Initial Payment Date”. The IPD is 19 months after sales commence.
  • Payment schedule
    • $15,000 on sales commencement date (to be credited towards above earnings) to be used for
    • $35,000 earnings payment 19 months after opening, followed by semi-annual earnings payments
    • Education and policing payments of $50,000 beginning two years after sales commence
  • 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.

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Julie Connelly
8 years ago

This agreement is being touted as a financial windfall to the Town, with revenue prospects of up to $500K annually. This is all a bit of smoke and mirrors and shows a lack of sophistication in the Town’s negotiating, because for the Town to receive the $500K amount, CommCan’s gross profits at this location would have to be almost $17 Million annually. The BOS has not sought any information on financial forecasts for CommCan, and while I expect CommCan to be profitable, I’d be shocked if their gross profits hit anywhere near $17M. Essentially, the cap could have been a Bazillion Dollars and it wouldn’t matter because the 3% of gross profits is never going to get that high. Also, while I’m always happy to put money toward our schools to fight opioid abuse, I think it’s just silly of the Town to insert anything into our agreement with CommCan that specifies how we’ll use the money. If we want to put some internal earmarks in, fine, but we shouldn’t be making contractual promises to CommCan about what we’re doing with the money. If the Town ever wants to do anything else with it we could be in default of the host agreement. It just doesn’t make any sense.

And lastly, I think BOS should reconsider and rescind its letter of non-opposition in light of the very clear message the residents sent at Town Meeting regarding our hesitancy of having a cash-for-drugs business so close to our schools. It just doesn’t pass the rationality test to allow this, and BOS can no longer throw up their hands and tell the residents that we wanted this.

Town Meeting vote
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie Connelly

The Town Meeting vote was a farce. It was 11:00 PM, second night, nobody cared, most people left from the previous votes they cared about and Marnie did a great job of getting 80 people in the room to landslide the vote. Give her credit with the Church. Nothing like good ol’ fashion religion to interject into a fear mongering debate. I give her credit for getting 80 people to stick around. But give me a break.

This vote was so pathetic and was note even close to being representative of the community views. The bylaw will be rejected by the AG.

Ms. Connelly, I find your activism against this really a poor case for your stature on the economic development committee. Where were you with Sperry’s? They had crime recently? Even an investigation by the PD. Near the schools? What is a new restaurant wanted to come in? Support more liquor licenses? So people can drink and drive?

Where does this nonsense end? This is such a major case of NIMBY and is exactly why state law denies any town from prohibiting any use, no matter how undesirable. Otherwise with regressive people like you, would wouldn’t have airports, dumps, health care facilities, adult shops, medical marijuana, convenience stores, nothing. We just simply wouldn’t have anything because nobody wants anything near their house except open space, other houses and golf courses.

The Selectmen did very well on this agreement. Clifford Road residents LIVE 100 feet from a major state highway. You better be careful what you wish for, you could have a worse business end up there someday that will actually have crime.

The children will be fine. They will have a bright future with or without the dispensary. In fact, it offers me an excellent opportunity to educate and parent my children. I’ve already talked to my kids about the dispensary. Have you?

Town Meeting vote
8 years ago

Last thing:

Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No campaign was an epic failure like just about every policy and promise of the Reagan era. I’ve chosen to have very careful conversations with my children about this dispensary and the debate. Just Say No was a huge failure. Engaging your children with the Truth is what works, NOT denial and pretending as if this facility is what is not.

Stop denying others access to something they have a right too and can use.

8 years ago

Ms. Connelly, More than 60% of the town voted in favor of medical pot. I believe the number is over 3000 people. By your logic, that is an even clearer message.

This is a good financial agreement for the town. Enough of the NIMBY.

Julie Connelly
8 years ago
Reply to  Resident

Resident – I’m not arguing against medical marijuana, and I don’t think my argument can be simplified into NIMBY. There is a difference between generally agreeing that marijuana may have medicinal value on the one hand and exchanging cash for drugs a stone’s throw from our schools on the other. I think the cash/drugs combo invites crime and there is evidence from our friends in Colorado that supports this. Also, I’m not convinced that this is the financial boon for the Town that it is being pitched as. We don’t know how much the Town will profit from this because the BOS hasn’t investigated any financial data to get an idea about what 3% of gross profits will look like. Also, if there is an increase in crime or additional security required, there could be additional pressure on our Town’s resources, not to mention devaluation of property values in the adjoining neighborhood.

8 years ago
Reply to  Resident


Based on the 2010 survey, there were 9767 people in Southborough, MA. There are 6767, which is more than 2/3 people who dislike the medical pot. You have a mouse sight to see the financial increase.

Do you see the decrease of the real estate due to the dispensary in the future? The dispensary will discourage lots of future home buyers. That affects every home or family. Do we want to scarify every family in order to get some money for temporary financial increase?

8 years ago
Reply to  Hui

Now we have claims real estate values will decrease? Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea what you are even talking about?

Listen, if you do not accept a prescription for medical marijuana for any pain or surgery you personally have in the future, that stour choice. If you do not smoke recreational pot, good for you. Me neither. But to deny people access to this with this baseless claims is ridiculous. Where were you people when the liquor stores were being put in all over town?

Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy.

8 years ago

Doesn’t the agreement as reported above say “3% of gross sales”??? not gross profits as Ms. Connelly writes?

$17million is a lot of sales but certainly much more achievable than $17million in profit. Maybe our town negotiators weren’t so unsophisticated after all.

Even if they only hit half that sales target, we’d pick up $250k each year…

Souse Bro
8 years ago

So, if I read this right, if I find a nice lot and build a small garage for small engine repair, I’m going to have to make mob-like payments to the town just to make a living and help my neighbors? Sounds legit. Good luck to to CommCan in it’s uphill battle to help their neighbors. They required no infra-structure upgrades as do most housing developments, but they still have to pay ransom…

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