At Monday night’s session of Fall River City Council’s Committee on Ordinances and Legislation by a vote of 3-2 the committee agreed to send a proposed ordinance to the full council limiting the number of cannabis facilities in Fall River to 11.
As of now, the Correia Administration has 11 letters of non-opposition issued to prospective firms trying to secure a license to operate from the Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commission.
Three licenses have been awarded in the city, yet only Northeast Alternatives is allowed to sell cannabis recreationally.
City Council Member Shawn Cadime offered a final amendment allowing the number of cannabis licenses to increase if the number of off-premise liquor licenses went up.
"I want to put in there that the maximum number of recreational marijuana licenses available at one time in the city of Fall River will be limited to twenty percent of off-premise liquor licenses or eleven, whichever number is greater.”
Cadime explains this prepares them if an unforeseen circumstance pops up.
“The reason I want to throw the twenty percent in there is if, for whatever reason, the population changes and then our off-premise liquor licenses are higher and we're awarded more licenses, I don't want to constantly have to come back down,” he said. “I want to be able to capture both so it's automatic we obtain that twenty percent."
Corporation Counsel Joseph Macy remained neutral in the debate.
"Just so we're clear, I have never taken a position if the city can only issue eight licenses,” he said. “I've been very clear that the city could not reduce the number they issue below eight and if they wanted to restrict it above that number, they could."
Fall River-Based Attorney and Former Fall River Mayor Will Flangan warned the committee of the potential revenue the city could miss out on because of this cap.
"By limiting yourself, you're doing just that - you're limiting yourself,” he explained. “From a capitalistic standpoint or from a business standpoint you're making the determination that this is the market and this is what we're able to bring.”
The Former Mayor spoke on how difficult it is to get into this industry at this time.
“This is a high barrier of entry,” Flangan said. “Not many people have 3 to 5 million dollars to open a dispensary check. Plus, you have to pass a background and assets check."
The full Nine-Member City Council will take up this question later this month.