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Massachusetts

Officials Disagree on Cities and Towns Negotiating With Marijuana Shops

The Cannabis Control Commission and Massachusetts lawmakers who oversee marijuana policy can't agree on whether the commission is allowed to review the required agreements between cities and towns and marijuana shops.

Members on both sides said they worry that some cities and towns may be navigating pathways around the law, overcharging marijuana retailers.

Under state law, cities and towns may charge up to three percent of a store's annual revenue, and the agreements cannot exceed five years in length.

The commission, which voted 4-to-1 on Thursday to turn down a proposal that would have allowed it to review the agreements, said it feared that it doesn’t have the legal authority to intervene.

But Sen. Patricia Jehlen, D-Somerville, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, said the law is clear.

"There is no enforcement of the state law that limits the payments that can be required of local marijuana establishments," she said.

Shaleen Title, a commissioner on Cannabis Control Commission, who proposed the failed measure to review the agreements, said the commission's decision "will undermine the very explicit intent of the law."

Both Jehlen and Title said the issue could end up in court, where a judge would decide whether the commission has the authority to review the agreements.

The commission said it will study the issue and report its findings at a later date.

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