ORLEANS – In October, voters repealed a general statute banning marijuana facilities and passed a zoning statute that allows these facilities to be set up.
Since then, city administrator John Kelly has received six letters of interest from companies ready to enter the city.
The Select Board tries to attract interest by creating an agreement with the host community and setting criteria for evaluating the applications received.
The Select Board last week reviewed a draft agreement with the hosting community and asked questions for the city council to answer before entering into any formulation.
The agreement is a contract between the city and the marijuana facility that sets out the conditions a facility must meet in order to do business in the city. An agreement must be signed before the state cannabis control board grants an applicant a preliminary license to operate as a marijuana establishment.
Municipalities are entitled to levy sales tax, excise tax on marijuana and marijuana products, and local excise tax. The municipalities can charge a fee for the impact on the municipality of a maximum of 3% on the gross annual turnover of the company over a period of no more than five years.
Selected Board members requested clarification on the payment schedule for impact fees and whether they could be paid quarterly or semi-annually. They also wanted to know if there were bans on lowering the impact fee for the first five years.
The board decided against requiring a company to pay a percentage of gross earnings to a special city fund for charity or to do 100 hours of community service. Other cities have included such conditions in their host community agreements.
Selected board member Mefford Runyon called for transparency of ownership in the application process.
City planner George Meservey assured the board that permits would only be given to individual owners and not to a business unit.
“All business unit owners must be clearly identified to avoid unknown owners,” he said.
Selected board members asked for clarification on whether they could charge companies for legal fees if they never opened in Orleans. They also asked to renegotiate fees if a company entered into an agreement with another city with higher fees.
The board will receive a revised agreement after the city council further reviews the current draft.
Applicants must submit an application to the Select Board along with a $ 250 fee. A preliminary review team consisting of the police chief, health agent, planning director, building commissioner, finance director, city council, and city administrator or their respective representatives would review the application first. The review team would have the opportunity to comment, ask questions, or raise objections prior to presenting to the board.
The residents would have the opportunity to weigh up the decision-making process during public relations. These meetings would also take place prior to a presentation to the Select Board.
Applicants will be assessed based on their experience in the cannabis industry, business experience, business plans and staff training processes, and the completeness of their applications.
Kevin Galligan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Select, said he would like applicants to build on safety plans, field hiring plans, and their commitment to safety and abuse prevention.
Kelly will develop a set of objective criteria for review by the board. The board promised a transparent process.
“We have to provide businesses on the same footing,” said Galligan.
The Select Board will meet again on January 6th.
Contact Denise Coffey at dcof[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @DeniseCoffeyCCT.