While a debate continues through the Summer on setting a possible cap to limit the number of cannabis dispensaries in Fall River, WSAR News has learned the number of letters opposition issued by the current administration has reached 13.
In documents obtained by the Fall River Corporation Counsel’s Office, the two most recent letters were issued to Pedro Fernandes, the brother of a woman who Mayor Jasiel Correia II is reportedly dating and with whom he shares a Peckham Street residence.
Mayor Correia signed the documents on July 18 while Fernandes signed the day before on the 17th. This would make Fernandes the only prospect in Fall River who has been issued two letters of non-opposition for his business.
Fernandes is listed as the President of New Leaf Enterprises Inc. with locations on Second Street and South Main Street near the border with Tiverton. New Leaf was incorporated on June 22nd.
In the copy of the host agreement provided to WSAR News, it states that the agreements are contingent upon their acceptance into the Cannabis Control Commission’s Social Equity Program.
The program is developed to give those convicted of drug offenses, and or those residing in communities of disproportionate impact, (which Fall River qualifies) an opportunity to participate the marijuana business.
According to the Cannabis Control Commission’s website, the applicant must meet one of the following requirements:
Have resided in an area of disproportionate impact for at least five of the past 10 years and current income may not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level; or
Have a past drug conviction and a resident of Massachusetts for at least the preceding 12 months; or
Have been married to or the child of a person with a drug conviction, and a resident of Massachusetts for at least the preceding 12 months.
Earlier in the Summer, the Digital Edition of the Fall River Herald News reported the Fernandes family along with Luis Bettencourt were to be awarded a license to operate a temporary entertainment venue on the City Pier. That venture was put on hold by the Environmental Protection Agency for PCB contamination dating back to 20110
One city council member already expressed his concern with Mayor Correia’s handling of issuing letters of non-opposition. Earlier in the Summer Shawn Cadime accused the mayor of receiving kickbacks from the cannabis companies he issued letters to. This prompted an exchange of letters between Cadime and the Mayor’s Lead Defense Attorney, Kevin Reddington who called Cadime’s comments “slanderous.”.
Among the host agreements was one with Loop Cultivation Partners slated for a Commerce Drive location with Matthew Pichette listed as the company’s CEO, the husband of Dina Pichette who the Fall River Herald News reported was fined for illegal donations to the Mayor Jasiel Correia campaign.
The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance fined Pichette $5,000 after she told them she asked three family members to make contributions for the same amount, then transferring funds to reimburse them. It was noted the Correia Campaign had no knowledge of the issues involved with the Pichette campaign donations.