The marijuana blame game
But the date viewed by many as a launch for retail recreational sales is now looking like the end of the summer, almost two years after voters approved a statewide referendum legalizing adult use. James Smith, a former state representative who championed legal weed back in the 1970s and now is an attorney representing the nascent industry, says the cause of the delay lays squarely with cities and towns who are dragging their feet on zoning and host agreements if they haven’t enacted bans and moratoriums.
“Parochialism, puritanicalism,” said Smith, who, along with Jennifer Flanagan of the state Cannabis Control Commission joined The Codcast to talk about the slow rollout of the law. “The statute and our history gives an awful lot of power to our communities…It’s as if we’re trying to site a nuclear waste dump downtown.”
Flanagan, a former state representative and senator who was appointed to the commission by Gov. Charlie Baker, acknowledged communities have the final word on stores and other facilities opening in their midst but said it’s more a lack of education than overt resistance that has been causing the delays.
“There’s a lot of questions by people serving in town government,” said Flanagan, who voted against the referendum before joining the board. “Some are really trying to get it down. This is a really big industry that will have an impact for years to come.”
Smith, who has been negotiating host agreements with communities for his firm’s clients, said some cities and towns are looking to extract more than the statutorily allowed 3 percent local tax and 3 percent cost mitigation agreement and that is hampering some