Model Host Community Agreement Public Comment Period Now Open
Today, the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) opened a two-week public comment period for constituents to weigh in on the “Model Host Community Agreement (HCA)” that the agency has drafted as the template for a compliant contract between municipalities and license applicants/licensees. Responses should be emailed to Commission@CCCMass.com with a subject line of “Model HCA Public Comment” no later than Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 5 p.m.
State law requires all Marijuana Establishments and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers seeking a new license or renewal of a license to have an executed HCA with the municipality in which they seek to operate, or operating within, including all stipulations of responsibilities between the parties.
The Model HCA was incorporated into the Commission’s recent regulatory revisions that were promulgated in accordance with the Commonwealth’s cannabis equity reform law, which was enacted and signed into law August 2022. The final document will be an essential part of the Commission’s engagement with cities, towns, and licensees across Massachusetts to fulfill its new, legislatively mandated authority to review, approve, and certify agreements between the parties.
Starting March 1, the Commission will begin enforcing adherence to an HCA that complies with state law and regulations, or that the license applicant/licensee and host community agree to a compliant waiver. The timeline for enforcing the agency’s new HCA regulations will depend upon the date a new license applicant or current licensee submit a completed application to the Commission.
After the public comment period ends, and the final Model HCA is approved, the Commission recommends the Model HCA be used by stakeholders in the following ways:
• As a new, “fill-in-the-blank” agreement between the contracting parties;
• A template that can be used and modified based on the parties’ agreement; or
• As an interim agreement for licensees and municipalities to quickly establish a compliant HCA if there are concerns that their current HCA may not be compliant with state law and regulations.
Commission regulations specify that agreements that conform to the Model HCA will be presumed compliant. However, while the template is meant as a tool for constituents to use, it is not the required HCA format, and it should not be construed as legal advice. Any municipality, license applicant, or licensee is encouraged to consult with an attorney regarding the legal requirements for a HCA prior to signing any such contract.
All feedback to the Model HCA should be submitted as soon as possible, and not later than January 31, 2024. Those received by the deadline will be reviewed by Commissioners and staff and may be incorporated as changes for the final version that will be considered at a future public meeting. The Commission is scheduled to meet next on February 8, 2024.
Please be advised that the Commission may publish submissions it receives or produce them in response to a request made under the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c. 66, § 10, or any other compulsory legal processes.
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