End this Unfair ‘Tax’ on Medical Marijuana Shops

Companies that want to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts are being pressured into paying an unnecessarily high price to follow the letter of the law. The licensing process for dispensaries established under the state Department of Public Health is rightfully rigorous. But the vetting procedures also must be fair. That’s not the case with a provision that requires applicants to submit de facto letters of consent from communities where they want to set up shop — the provision is being used by some local officials to elicit unreasonable payments from businesses applying for dispensary licenses.

Since voters in 2012 approved legislation allowing marijuana to be grown and sold to treat certain medical conditions, just six dispensaries have opened their doors. Another 174 applications are slowly advancing through the regulatory gantlet. The Globe’s Kay Lazar reported last week that one of those applicants, Good Chemistry of Massachusetts, secured an approval letter from Worcester officials only after striking a deal that calls for Good Chemistry to give the city $450,000 over three years, and then dole out $200,000 — plus 2.5 percent of its revenue — in subsequent years. A $10,000 annual contribution to public charities was thrown in for good measure.

– Read the entire article at Boston Globe.