Fall River's Acting Mayor Discusses Cannabis In The City

The Acting Fall River Mayor Cliff Ponte has told WSAR he will not be signing any additional letters of non-opposition or host agreements for potential cannabis retailers.


The Cannabis Control Commission and members of the Massachusetts House would like to look at what has happened in the city of Fall River after the soon-to-be former Mayor Jasiel Correia II was charged with 11 additional counts of extortion and aiding and abetting extortion regarding at least five different holders.


Ponte talked about any potential role he will have in this process.


"I haven't had those discussions yet,” he said. “That file is with Corporation Counsel. He has the experience and the wherewithal and the research that his team is doing to respond to the Cannabis Control Commission. I'm not going to be signing any letters of non-opposition or any of that stuff."


The Acting Mayor said the City Council’s Vice President has been working on a proposal that would follow a method used in New Bedford.


"I know Council Vice President (Pam Lalibirte) LeBeau has been working with me more on a one-on-one basis to develop an ordinance that New Bedford has where they kind of have an oversight committee that these marijuana companies go to and deliver a presentation,” Ponte said. “It goes before that oversight committee, then the planning board and then the city council."


Though Ponte says he will not be involved in signing letters of non-opposition or host agreements, the Acting Mayor says discussions still need to be had. 


"Unfortunately, we were kind of late to the game,” he said. “I think we need to start having those discussions. I'm sure Councilor LeBeau, who has been working with me as council leadership for the last couple of years and at least most recently the last couple of weeks, will. With respect to this, I think that's important but that's where I'm at and where we're at as a community."