Posted: 05/20/2022 19:32:53
Greetings, Chairman Mariano, House Ways and Means Committee and Honorable Legislators,
I am the city manager of Athol and the current chairman of the Massachusetts Small Town Administrators. This commentary is offered in my capacity as City Manager, the Athol Board and probably dozens of other Chief Administrators, Managers and Mayors across the Commonwealth.
The Legislative Assembly is on the verge of making remarkable improvements to the social equity aspect of the cannabis industry and I’m sure most municipalities will applaud this action and adopt a uniform set of procedures – even if they are late – to improve access to this industry through social networks. equity participants and companies.
My concern throughout this series of bills and amendments remains centered on attempts to undo contractual agreements that cities and towns have negotiated in good faith while embracing a new industry – cannabis – as as host communities. These pioneering communities were certainly looking for financial benefit to citizens in exchange for their willingness to be at the forefront of a new industry that was previously deemed illegal and whose latent impacts may not be known. A great deal of time, effort, and money has been spent creating the local bylaws, ordinances, and zoning reforms necessary to enable these new businesses.
Now, perhaps because very few bad actors acted in bad faith, the entire host community agreement process that was followed in good faith and resulted in at least 1,000 mutually agreed contracts to across the Commonwealth appears to be under fire. These existing contracts should speak for themselves and not be subject to ex post facto regulation. The courts already have jurisdiction over contract law. Therefore, I respectfully ask the House to accept the following suggested changes to H-4791:
Support Amendment No. 19 to H4791 sponsored by Ms. Blais and co-sponsored by Mr. Kushmerek, Ms. Whipps, Mr. Philips and Mr. Argosky LeBoeuf to add language stating that “any Host Community Agreement in effect before the date of entry into force of this act is not subject to the review of the commission during the entire initial term of this agreement.
Support Changes #15 and #21 to H4791 sponsored by Mr. Kushmerek to streamline documentation requirements.
Opposing Amendment No. 23 to H4791 sponsored by Ms. Sabadosa regarding impact fees as unnecessary when breach of contract is already within the jurisdiction of the courts.
Thank you for your service to your district constituents and our community.
Shaun A. Suhoski is the City Manager of Athol.