Editorial: Waiving of impact fees a mark of legal marijuana's success – GazetteNET

Published: 2/18/2021 1:54:06 PM

When Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz announced last month the city would forgo collection of community impact fees from local marijuana businesses, it was a recognition that legal cannabis has not had the baneful social impacts some feared.

Since 2016, when New England Treatment Access opened a medical marijuana dispensary in the city, Northampton has amassed more than $3 million from the optional impact fee, a 3% tax (1.5% on medical marijuana sales) it collects in addition to the 3% excise tax on all gross recreational marijuana sales.

Under Massachusetts law, the impact fee must be “reasonably related to the costs imposed on the municipality by the operation of the marijuana establishment.”

As examples, Northampton’s host community agreements all cite “… impacts upon its road system, law enforcement, inspectional services, permitting services, administrative services and public health services, in addition to potential additional unforeseen impacts upon the city.”

The revenues from the impact fee can only be used for these kinds of community impacts, and may not be channeled into the city’s general fund. The arrangement expires after five years, at which point it must be renegotiated.

As of January, according to Narkewicz,

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