Friday, June 17, 2016

Pot Of Gold? (Weed That Is)

Meadow St RMD site:  3rd to get SB approval but first to go before ZBA

The Amherst Select Board on Monday night heard from Temporary Town Manager Pete Hechenbleikner that the estimated medical marijuana market in our little college town is $10 million annually. 

Can you imagine what the market will be if pot is legalized this coming November?  Yikes!

No wonder the floodgates have opened for RMDs (Registered Marijuana Dispensary) trying to be first to market in Amherst.

 85 University Drive building now under construction 1st site to gain SB approval

Interestingly there's no particular economic benefit to the town if we have, say, four dispensaries licensed versus just one.  Because the Host Community Agreements call for a percentage of sales (between 2%-3%), thus Amherst will intake around $250,000 on that $10 million whether it's one facility or four satisfying the market.

Although some minor economic benefits occur with more than just one.  Each dispensary has to donate $20,000 annually to a public charity serving the town so four dispensaries would generate $80,000 per year.

 55 University Drive will require renovations 2nd site to gain SB approval

And the facilities are on the tax rolls so the valuation of those properties will probably go up thus generating more property tax revenues.

 Amherst Select Board Monday night Pete Hechenbleikner (center)

Andy Steinberg tried to get fellow board members to call a moratorium on new letters of approval although he was careful not to use the word "moratorium" as the town attorney already advised that would be illegal.

His concern is how many dispensaries are too many?

The Select Board has already approved three.  But fellow board members felt guilty about how much power they have over RMD approval:  A no vote summarily kills a project with absolutely no avenue for appeal.

Kind of like a Public School Superintendent issuing a stay away order.

 Rafters corner of University Drive/Amity Street 4th site to seek SB approval

The Select Board voted 4-1 to grant a hearing to the 4th wanna-be at their next meeting June 20th.  That particular proposal of course could endanger Rafters, a local legend.

The other major hurdle for RMD's is our Zoning Board of Appeals, and that hurdle requires a unaniomous vote of all three members.  And one critical provision they must ascertain is if the facility, "Meets a demonstrated need."

With that in mind #4 on the list could be in trouble.   Although ZBA decisions can be appealed.


Anonymous said...

"Kind of like a Public School Superintendent issuing a stay away order."

Kind of snarky this morning, aren't we?

Larry Kelley said...

Nah, I try to be at least a little snarky every morning.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully we don't have any pubic charities in town.

Anonymous said...

Amherst and the Mafia....same business model....forced "donations"

Anonymous said...

"Need" is for the first one. Anything beyond that becomes restraint of trade.
Town can't deny approval because they approved someone else -- it's all or none.

Town can do that with beer because the 22nd Amd gives the town powers over sale of beer that it doesn't have over, say, sale of lottery tickets.