Cannabis Business Permitting: Follow Up (7/29/19)

Since the Ordinance Committee last met on 6/27 to discuss the Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance, negotiations have continued on a compromise amendment offered by Councillor Simmons on behalf of the Registered Medical Dispensaries (RMDs) to help state-certified Economic Empowerment (EE) applicants seeking to compete on the adult-use retail cannabis market. (Read my prior post on the 6/27 meeting.)

There is a committee report on the Council’s Summer Meeting agenda that recounts the debate on 6/27 over how to further our equity goals. I believe it is procedurally possible that we could vote to ordain an amended version of the Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance during our the Summer Meeting on 7/30 without waiting for the additional information requested in the orders that are included in the committee report.

Today (7/29), the RMDs submitted a revised compromise amendment that may be discussed at tomorrow’s Council meeting. I am pasting below a comparison summary sent to the Council by the attorney representing the RMDs:

Original Simmons Compromise Amendment – June 27th

Existing RMDs allowed to convert immediately

Economic Empowerment Funding distributed over 4 years at $5 million

RMDs required to offer training and skills development for EE Applicants

Existing RMDs not required to continue medical marijuana retail establishments

Existing RMDs not required to maintain access to low-revenue medical marijuana treatment

New Compromise Amendment – July 29th

Existing RMDs shall not convert until January 1st, 2020

Economic Empowerment Funding shall be distributed over 2 years at $5 million

  • Each qualifying EE Applicant would have access to $1 million of unrestricted funding
    • RMDs required to offer training and skills development for EE Applicants under the provisions of this fund

Expedites Issuance of Host Community Agreement and Special Permit for all applicants

  • Requires a Host Community Agreement 45 Days after Ordination
  • Requires a Special Permit 90 Days after Ordination

Existing RMDs required to continue operation of medical marijuana retail establishments

  • All existing Cambridge RMDs have signed individual attestations to maintain patient access to medical marijuana
  • All existing Cambridge RMDs have further signed individual attestations to voluntarily include their commitment to maintain continuing access to medical marijuana in any Host Agreement with the City
  • See Attachment B for notarized attestations

Existing RMDs shall provide and maintain a sufficient quantity and variety for marijuana patients to access medical treatment

  • Prevents any restriction or elimination of access to medical cannabis products after conversion
  • Allows patients continuous access to medicine despite the lower profit retailers may experience    

Cambridge Economic Empowerment Incubator

  • Creates approximately $1 million available every year for Empowerment Applicants to access startup capital on top of the $5 million received from RMDs
  • Funded by 20% of Cambridge Cannabis Excise Tax
  • Directed toward Economic Empowerment Applicants every year for funding

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Jan Devereux
City Councillor
Cambridge, MA