NEW BEDFORD — Recreational marijuana in New Bedford just took a giant leap forward.

The City of New Bedford has tentatively reached Host Community Agreements, required under Massachusetts law, with three applicants seeking recreational marijuana dispensary licenses from the state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC).

Under the City’s zoning measure governing the siting of recreational marijuana facilities, applicants were required to identify eligible sites in industrially zoned areas that were also outside of various buffer zones established to protect residences, schools and childcare centers, and similar sites.

The three applicants that have reached Host Community Agreements have secured site control for the following locations, located in commercial areas:

Tree Beard, Inc. – 1 Nauset Street

Southcoast Apothecary, LLC – 115 Coggeshall Street

Metro Harvest, Inc. – 606 Tarkiln Hill Road

Earlier this year, a screening committee comprised of key City departments, as well as a member of the City Council, reviewed four proposals and recommended that the Mayor pursue Host Community Agreement negotiations with the three applicants referenced above. The Agreements are subject to City Council approval; earlier today, Mayor Jon Mitchell submitted the Agreements to the Council for its consideration.

The primary terms of the Host Community Agreements are identical, and were arrived at after individual negotiations between each applicant and the City. Key terms are summarized below:

Payments

An initial payment of $25,000 upon opening of the facility and a total payment of 3% of gross retail sales revenue per year of operation.

Annual charitable contributions of $50,000 or 1.5% of gross retail sales, whichever is greater, to New Bedford-based organizations that deliver substance abuse prevention and education programs in the City’s public school district.

In any year in which gross sales reach $2,500,000, an additional charitable contribution of $50,000 is made.  Should gross sales reach $5,000,000, the additional charitable contribution is $100,000.

Safety

The company must coordinate with the New Bedford Police Department on security planning, security camera installation, and other safety measures.  The company must meet with police on a regular basis for a review of operations.

Employment

The company must, to the extent legally permissible, give priority to qualified residents of the City for employment at the facility.  Applicants must do their best to comply with the New Bedford Works policy.

Taxes

The company will pay all real estate and personal property taxes on the facility.

Signage

Ground mounted, pylon, internally lit and/or flashing and off-premises signs are not allowed. Wall signs are limited in size to be smaller.  The size and color of all signs shall be in scale and compatible with the surrounding buildings and street.

While a Host Community Agreement is a necessary requirement to operate a recreational marijuana dispensary in the City, several steps remain before such a facility opens:

Applicants must complete the Cannabis Control Commission application process and receive a provisional license.

Once in possession of a provisional license, applicants must all obtain the required City approvals for their facilities. In this instance, approvals will include a Special Permit from the Planning Board, compliance with Board of Health regulations, and a license from the City Licensing Board.