New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell is proposing an amendment to the City's Host Community Agreement with ARL Healthcare, Inc., the company that reached an agreement with New Bedford last year to operate the city's first marijuana cultivation and processing facility.

At Thursday night's City Council meeting, Mitchell is submitting a Draft Adult Use Host Community Agreement between the City and ARL that will permit the company to also cultivate marijuana for recreational purposes, in addition to the medical marijuana cultivation allowed for in the original agreement.

"They've come back to us and said the Host Community Agreement was just for wholesale sales to medical facilities, not for recreational dispensaries, and could we amend that?" Mitchell said in his weekly appearance on WBSM.

Mitchell said that with the new provisions that allow for medical marijuana cultivators or treatment centers getting preference for full recreational licenses, ARL wants the option to also be allowed to sell to recreational dispensaries.

"From our standpoint, it really shouldn't matter," Mitchell said. "They're cultivating the stuff in their factory in the New Bedford (Industrial) Park, but as long as (the City) is controlling sales in New Bedford, if they're selling to other cities in Massachusetts, it shouldn't be a matter of concern for us. So we're proposing to the City Council that we amend the agreement to reflect that."

Mitchell said New Bedford is "already maxed out" in the amount of revenue it can get from ARL--roughly three percent of its annual gross sales--and it wouldn't make sense to stand in their way of making more money.

"We try to accommodate businesses where we can," he said. "We want them to make more money than they otherwise would, because frankly, it means more money for the city."

The City of New Bedford itself has a moratorium on recreational marijuana sales until September 30, to allow for the passing of local ordinances on zoning and operations.

"We're pretty far down the line at this point," Mitchell said of the crafting of the ordinances. "Something should emerge publicly on that in the not-too-distant future."

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