The Citizen Chronicle asked Southbridge Town Councilors to weigh in on the adult use marijuana ballot initiative which will be voted on by citizens on Tuesday, June 11. Below is a response from Councilor Adams.
Dear Editor and Residents of Southbridge,
Regardless if you are a user or not there is no denying adult-use cannabis establishments do bring economic development and opportunities to towns. We have seen it on the news that many of the towns which surround our own have already opened retail stores and are economically benefiting from these sales. Recommending to the Town Council to repeal this bylaw will not cure all of our town’s economic or infrastructural problems…BUT will it help start to rebuild our fiscal footprint, economic diversity, and alleviate some of our infrastructural needs? YES
On June 11, 2019 our town has the chance to be in the same position as those that immediately surround us. These opportunities for new business establishments do not just include retail stores but can include grow facilities, laboratories, microbusiness, research and development, and transportation hubs. The difference between this type of business and others in our town is the fact the Town will negotiate the contract with these companies through a “non-opposition” letter and a Host Agreement; both must be submitted to the state for approval before any license is approved. Within this Host Agreement our town will receive property taxes, at least 3% and in some cases 6% of sales (this 3% to 6% should be utilized for infrastructure projects like roads, sidewalks, and parks but should be by no means placed in our operating budget), and will negotiate for a compact grant which are funds that can support local entities such as our fire department, police department, parks, Veterans groups, and other much needed priorities. For example, we have a medical retail store owned and operated by Green Meadows opening this year by Fins and Tales. Green Meadows, has purchased two long standing vacant lots which makes them property owners and subject to property taxes, has already paid the back taxes that had been owed to our town for some time, will provide 3% of sales to our town, will clean up that area by building a new facility, repaving that area which includes new lighting, and will be providing $20,000.00 to our town in the form of a compact grant (visit my Facebook page for more information on this business: https://www.facebook.com/DavidAdamsSouthbridgeTownCouncilor/).
This is just one company but by allowing other like establishments in the form of grow facilities, research and development, laboratories and others this will bring about economic diversity to our town and which we need. Our town already has the infrastructure in place and because of this there have been a few large businesses already interested in our town and are watching to see what will happen on June 11th. By allowing these businesses, it encourages others who want to invest in our town!
Safety is paramount when it comes to our community thus these establishments and their building plans will be scrutinized by the state, our town, our own police and fire departments, Inspector, Health Department, and by the establishment of zoning laws that will be put in place just as they were for medical-use establishments.
If you have any questions you can reach me by phone @405-249-6724 or through my Facebook page.R,
Councilor David Adams
Town of Southbridge