A number of Massachusetts municipalities received subpoenas from the state seeking information about the marijuana companies they host, according to a Boston Globe report. The federal investigation, led by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office, aims to crack down on local corruption within the nascent industry. While West Tisbury and Tisbury are in talks with marijuana businesses Patient Centric and Main Street Medicinals (Patient Centric recently finalized its host-community agreement), neither town was subpoenaed, according to town administrators.
But Main Street Medicinals consultant Silver Therapeutics has ties to two Massachusetts towns that have received subpoenas: Williamstown, which hosts one Silver Therapeutics recreational retail outlet, and Orange, which is slated to open a Silver Therapeutics recreational retail outlet soon. When asked if the subpoenas affect business operations, Silver Therapeutics CEO Josh Silver said, “I don’t think it does at all.”
Main Street Medicinals is pursuing an adult-use retail and cultivation license in Tisbury with the consulting expertise of Silver Therapeutics. Silver pitched the business to Tisbury selectmen in early August with seasonal resident Noah Eisendrath.
“We are working on [a host-community agreement],” Silver told The Times. “I think we’re going to try and get back in front of selectmen sometime in November.”
Nantucket, which hosts one recreational retail site, Green Lady Dispensary, declined to comment on whether the town was subpoenaed: “We are not in a position to confirm or deny that,” a town spokesperson said.
Subpoenas seek a variety of documents, including all copies of the host-community agreement (which outlines how much the town would receive in an impact fee up to 3 percent of annual revenue), and all communications between marijuana companies and local officials, according to Orange town administrator Gabriele Voelker. The federal investigation comes in the wake of charged corruption in Fall River, where Mayor Jasiel Correia II is accused of pressuring four marijuana businesses to pay $575,000 in cash bribes in exchange for city approval, according to the Boston Globe. Correia pleaded not guilty in September.
“It’s unfortunate that some towns and cities may see the host-community agreement as a vehicle to take unfair advantage of a business that will help raise revenues and bring well-paying jobs to the area,” Patient Centric CEO Geoff Rose told The Times. “Hopefully these will prove to be isolated incidents. I have had an excellent working relationship with the town of West Tisbury, and am optimistic about having the same in Tisbury.”
Tisbury selectmen said last week that they plan to have both companies, which have separate proposals for adult-use marijuana facilities on Mechanic’s Street, in for further discussions at meetings Nov. 12 and Nov. 19. Those agendas have not yet been finalized.