Bribery, Graft, and Corruption Will Get You A Dispensary In Massachusetts.
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In the second most “no duh” article this week (please see our article on a study showing how alcohol makes you more aggressive while marijuana calms you down), we come to find out that in order to get a dispensary in Massachusetts (and I assume other places) you have to pay to play.
The Boston Globe released a report that showed that a new dispensary license request comes with a hefty “sir charge” in order to be considered by local authorities. The Boston Globe article, which you can read here, states the following.
Massachusetts cities and towns are exacting increasingly hefty payments from medical marijuana dispensaries in exchange for letters the companies need to win state licenses, a Globe review of recent compacts shows.
In Worcester, a dispensary promised to pay the city $450,000 over three years — and $200,000 a year after that — if officials gave their blessing to the business.
!n Springfield, the city is negotiating a deal that would ultimately take 7 percent of a dispensary’s revenue, plus a $50,000 annual donation to the Police Department — a pact that could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This is straight out graft and bribery. An annual donation of $50,000 to the Police Department? Huh? The same guys that are arresting people for marijuana?
The report goes on to say…
“It’s quite clear if you don’t negotiate an agreement, you don’t get a letter,” said James E. Smith, a Boston attorney who represents a marijuana company that signed one of the larger agreements in March, with the City of Worcester.
This phenomenon, which some called pay-to-play, is not typically seen with marijuana licensing in other states, and will drive up the costs of doing business while siphoning money from the dispensaries that could be used to lower prices for needy patients, advocates said.
Negotiate an agreement? Why does that sound just like a loan shark or neighborhood protection goon walking in your barber shop or shoe store?
It seems that the marijuana industry has come under intense scrutiny every step of the way to make sure “no one let’s kids get marijuana”, yet those that are holding the industries' feet to the fire are the ones getting rich off the kickbacks and bribes.
Does it get in any better? Nope. Only going to get worse as cities and towns need to raise funds for underfunded pension plans and tax short falls. Check out the end of the Boston Globe report:
Since Worcester signed its contract in March, the Town of Southborough has signed a sweeter deal that promises the town 3 percent of the dispensary’s annual sales, capped at $500,000 a year, plus $50,000 in annual payments to the town for school substance abuse and mental health programs.
The City of Springfield may soon top that. Springfield leaders are considering a 10-year deal with a dispensary that starts at 3 percent of annual sales and steadily climbs to 7 percent by the ninth year, in addition to an annual $50,000 donation to the Police Department.