Recreational marijuana smokers frustrated by delay in retail sales
A marijuana user talks about her frustration with the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts
The Patriot Ledger
NATICK — ReLeaf Alternative is one step closer to opening a recreational marijuana business at a former Papa Gino’s restaurant on Route 9.
The Select Board voted 5-0 Monday to approve a host community agreement with reLeaf, which is looking to operate from 291 Worcester St., near the Wellesley line. The HCA is a requirement set by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, and Monday’s vote is among the first of many steps before reLeaf can open for business.
ReLeaf is poised to score a license to eventually become Natick’s second — and final — adult-use marijuana establishment. A 2018 Special Town Meeting vote gave the Select Board the authority to issue licenses to two retailers, and the board previously approved an agreement with Cypress Tree for a shop at 321 Speen St.
Not in my neighborhood: Some in Natick don’t want retail marijuana businesses
ReLeaf was among several adult-use marijuana retailers that sought to open a store along Route 9 in Natick. Back in January, several residents told the Select Board they didn’t want retail marijuana in their neighborhood, concerned it would result in more traffic and noise, and lower property values.
The neighbors later changed their tune and threw support behind reLeaf, asserting the former Papa Gino’s location wouldn’t have the same impact on traffic congestion as other proposed businesses.
Earlier approval: Former Papa Gino’s in Natick could be home to recreational marijuana business
What’s in the HCA?
Jonathan Silverstein, an attorney for the town, said reLeaf’s five-year host community agreement is largely similar to Cypress Tree’s, with the primary difference coming down to higher community contributions.
Per its agreement, reLeaf is slated to pay $100,000 in its first year of business (plus subsequent annual contributions) to Natick-based charitable causes with a focus on public health, education and substance abuse treatment and prevention. Cypress Tree’s agreement provided for a $25,000 community contribution in the business’ first year, increasing by 2.5% each year afterward.
Cypress Tree’s HCA: Natick Select Board votes 5-0 to sign agreement with marijuana retailer
Like Cypress Tree, reLeaf will pay the town a community impact fee of 3% of gross annual revenue to address expenses the town incurs as a result of the retailer’s operations. Natick may use those funds for any public purpose, subject to Town Meeting approval.
ReLeaf will pay an additional 3% of its gross revenue to the town as part of a local excise tax.
What’s left before reLeaf can open?
Looking for more details on reLeaf’s opening and site plans? You’ll have to wait a little longer.
“When it comes to specifics about the site, hours … traffic patterns, those things, wait for future processes,” Select Board Chair Karen Adelman-Foster said Monday. “This is really just the financial deal that we are coming to with the applicants.”
There are still a number of steps before reLeaf can open for business. Locally, the retailer will need to go before the Planning Board for a special permit, then come before the Select Board again for a license. At the state level, reLeaf will need licensing and a commence operations notice from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission before it may begin selling adult-use marijuana.
Abby Patkin is a multimedia journalist for the Daily News. Follow Abby on Twitter @AMPatkin. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.