City Council to Vote on Host Community Agreement for Pot Cultivator
On Thursday night, the New Bedford City Council will vote once again whether to approve the Host Community Agreement between the City of New Bedford and ARL Healthcare, Inc., the company that wants to open a marijuana cultivation facility in the New Bedford Business Park.
The host agreement was originally reached between ARL and Mayor Jon Mitchell back in December, but the council has gone back and forth on whether or not to approve the agreement.
In his weekly appearance on WBSM, Mayor Mitchell says, "These days, nothing the city council does surprises" him.
"I hope that the City Council wouldn't flip their votes again, but I'm also glad the folks in the fourth estate, the media, kept a close eye on this one, because it's just curious to me that it ended up back in front of the City Council," he said.
Mitchell says it's still not clear to him what the objection is regarding having ARL located in the Business Park.
The council's Committee on Finance voted in favor of the cultivating and processing facility 10-0 on Monday night, after originally passing from the committee back in December. The agreement then passed in a City Council vote April 12, before Councilor Linda Morad filed a motion to reconsider on April 13, leading to Monday's vote.
Mitchell also discussed the state legislature's new compromise bill that maxs out the tax on recreational marijuana at 20 percent also gives cities and towns that didn't approve the ballot measure the opportunity to opt out of allowing pot retailers in their communities. In places like New Bedford, where the measure overwhelmingly passed, it would take a new ballot measure to block them from operating.
The mayor says people voted for legalization of recreational marijuana without really considering where shops would be located.
"If you voted for legalization, even if you voted to have the ability to smoke marijuana in your house, it doesn't mean you necessarily want one of these shops being established next to your kid's school, or church," he said.
Mitchell says he feels the new compromise pot bill could open up a lot of municipalities to legal action, should they decide to not allow pot retailers to set up shop in their towns. He says that could delay the rollout of recreational marijuana sales even further past july of 2018.