Fall River’s Delegation on Beacon Hill sent a letter to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission on Tuesday asking for a moratorium on the current 14 letters of non-opposition and host agreements.
This came in response to several of them being mentioned in the 11 count indictment handed up against Jasiel Correia II Friday last Friday in Boston.
Bristol’s Sixth District State Representative Carole Fiola read verbatim to WSAR what exactly was asked in the letter:
"...with respect for request that the approval of anything pending retail or medical marijuana location in the city of Fall River be temporarily delayed and a moratorium on the issuance of such licenses be enacted until such time that the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has an opportunity to fully digest and investigate the alleged actions identified within the indictment to determine what impact if any these actions had on the issuance of letters of non-opposition and community host agreement negotiations."
Fiola went on to tell WSAR that legislation will be filed on Beacon Hill this month seeking to close loopholes that have been determined as a result of what has transpired in Fall River.
"We're hoping to file legislation in the next couple of days,” she said. “There are loopholes. We passed the marijuana bill. We spent time and took our time on it. We learned from other states. Along the way you make adjustments. That happens with a lot of legislation we do."
Within the letter Fiola along Paul Schmid and Alan Silvia, the other members of the Bristol Delegation said they worry that “the process of securing such licenses and host agreements may have been undermined.”
WSAR asked Mayor Correia about this letter. He maintained that he should have been informed about the trio’s concern who signed the document.
"I think that letter, they maybe should have called the office and sat down and strategize about that,” he said. “What I fear is that politicians get very concerned and their hair stick up on their arms and they take action that in fact either brings negative attention to the city or some cases may derail city progress."
The Fall River Mayor went on to suggest the four specific companies part of Friday’s indictment should be investigated by the Cannabis Control Commission.
"I think if the cannabis commission decides to do something, that’s their prerogative,” he said. “But I would caution them to not destroy the entire process that has existed. You have 14-plus companies that in the city of Fall River that have engaged in these non-opposition letters. It's been a good thing for the city.”
Correia claimed once again in his comments he had no idea if those four had side deals or not.
“These allegations based on four potential companies that may have had their own side deals going on that I was not party too,” he claimed. “They have their own issues and maybe the investigation has to look in to them and what they've done. But that doesn't mean we have a faulty process in Fall River."
The Cannabis Control Commission will now meet this afternoon and for the first time take up the letter’s request.
WSAR caught up with the Chairman of the Commission leading up to this session. He said they are working to ensure the legality of the industry.
“Overall, the objective of the commission is to stand up an industry that works for the citizens and state of Massachusetts,” he said. “It’s an industry that’s legal and safe and generates jobs as well as tax revenue for cities and towns around the state.”
Hoffman claims an incident like this makes their job harder.
“Anything that makes the industry less successful like when its not compliant with laws or when there are crimes like the ones charged in the indictment, to me, that makes our job that much more difficult,” he said.
Hoffman continued to acknowledge his concern over the issue.
“We really want this industry to be something that works for the cities and towns in the state as well as upholding the law,” he said. “I’m deeply concerned by the allegations. We have no information other than what we read in the indictment.”
The Chairman continued, “We’re using our own means to see what we can come up with at the state level. I’m very concerned about this and we’re going to do everything we can to get more knowledge about the information and take the appropriate action.”