Mayor Lungo-Koehn Signs Second Host Community Agreement with Retail Marijuana Dispensary

Sanctuary Medicinals, Inc. approved to set up marijuana dispensary on Riverside Avenue.

As part of community benefits, Sanctuary Medicinals will provide funding for fire station maintenance and DPW equipment.

MEDFORD – The City of Medford officially signed a Host Community Agreement with its second recreational marijuana dispensary. Yesterday, Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn signed a formal agreement with Sanctuary Medicinals for a dispensary to be located on Riverside Avenue. Sanctuary was the fourth ranked applicant based on scoring criteria put in place by the City’s Cannabis Advisory Committee. Nine applicants were considered, interviewed by the CAC, and ranked, with final rankings submitted to the Mayor in Fall 2021. The Host Community Agreement covers a five-year period. Sanctuary Medicinals now follows Theory Wellness as the second dispensary to enter into a Host Community Agreement with the City.

Sanctuary Medicinals will need to obtain Special Permit approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals before they can begin operation. They are also subject to approval from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

As with the agreement with Theory Wellness, the leadership at Sanctuary Medicinals made it a priority to hire Medford residents whenever possible and has agreed to Mayor Lungo-Koehn’s requirement that at least 50 percent of its employees will be women, at least 35 percent of employees will be of diverse backgrounds, and at least 5 percent of employees will be military veterans. Priority will also be given to local vendors whenever possible for resources and materials.

As part of the Host Community Agreement Sanctuary Medicinals will also make annual contributions to the Medford Fire Department for upkeep and maintenance purposes, as well as develop a community space to allow for storage capacity for local non-profits.

Other community benefits agreed to by Sanctuary Medicinals as part of the Host Community Agreement include:

Providing $100,000 of interest-free financing and technical guidance to a Medford resident of color to open a business in Medford
Providing at least $100,000 of financial support and technical guidance to sponsor environmentally sustainable businesses and business practices in Medford
Making annual contributions of $50,000 to Medford-based non-profits or city-run organizations
Providing $50,000 to the City of Medford to support funding of a Health Impacts Assessment within the first year
Purchasing and donating one DPW vehicle annually
Adding an EV charging station and a Blue Bike station on site
Paying for one Bluebike station and the annual maintenance fees

“This agreement with Sanctuary Medicinals offers our community clear benefits that will go directly to helping our Fire Department, DPW, public spaces and infrastructure,” Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn said. “Much thought and consideration goes into the entire process, including each clause of this Host Community Agreement. I know Sanctuary will be a valuable and upstanding partner to Medford and I’m glad to see them invest in our community. As we have unfortunately recently seen, this process can be met by unsavory and ill-intentioned opportunists, which is why our vetting and interview process is carefully constructed to identify problem areas, and come to a solution that puts the people of Medford first.”

CEO of Sanctuary Medicinals, Jason Sidman, echoed similar sentiments sharing, “Thank you to Mayor Lungo-Koehn and the Cannabis Advisory Committee for their hard work in choosing the best cannabis companies for Host Community Agreements in the City of Medford. We are privileged to be among them.”

Medford voters approved recreational marijuana dispensaries (with regulations) in a citywide election in November 2016. The Medford City Council began working on an ordinance in 2016 and approved zoning amendments to support the siting of these dispensaries, in September 2020, with a vote to adopt a Cannabis Advisory Committee in November 2020. A Committee was convened and began its process in February 2021 with final recommendations submitted in Fall 2021. The Mayor signed the first CHA in early March.

Under City Ordinance, the Mayor may negotiate up to three Host Community Agreements for marijuana dispensaries.

MARIJUANA DISPENSARY / CANNABIS ADVISORY COMMITTEE FACTS:

Timeline of selection and approval process:

November 2012: Medical marijuana approved in MA by voters
December 2015: City of Medford administration presented a draft medical marijuana ordinance to City Council
November 2016: Recreational Marijuana legalized (with regulations) in MA by voters, and an amendment sent to the Medford City Council. Medford voters supported Question 4 with 56% voting in support of legalizing marijuana, with regulations.
July 2020: Proposed Zoning Amendment submitted for review to the Medford Community Development Board
September 2020: Final Zoning Amendment adopted by City Council
November 17, 2020: Cannabis Advisory Committee ordinance adopted by City Council
February 11, 2021: Cannabis Advisory Committee holds first meeting
March 5, 2021: Cannabis Advisory Committee released application requirements and scoring criteria for the marijuana retail license.
April 30, 2021: Applications received by the Office of Planning, Development, and Sustainability from 10 applicants.
May 20, 2021: 10 applications presented to, subsequently approved by CAC following staff review.
July 2021: Community outreach meetings held by applicants for proposed retail establishments
October 13, 2021: Cannabis Advisory Committee voted on final rankings for all nine final applicants
October/November 2021: Final rankings and information presented to the Mayor
The Mayor signs the first HCA in March 2022.

HOST COMMUNITY AGREEMENTS

Per City ordinance, recreational marijuana establishments are only allowed in districts zoned as “Commercial II” or “Industrial.”
Per City ordinance, recreational marijuana establishments may not be located within 500 linear feet of any K-12 school.
It is the Mayor’s discretion to accept rankings and to negotiate Host Community Agreements. Per City ordinance, up to three licenses may be granted.

TAX REVENUE

Per state regulations, the City has the option to establish a 3% excise tax on retail sales from each permitted establishment. In addition, the City may seek up to an additional 3% of gross retail sales as a Community Impact Fee through the Host Community Agreement. The Community Impact Fee, limited to a term of 5 years, is intended to mitigate any impacts from retail establishments. (For example, a community may consider using the Community Impact Fee revenue to offset permitting and inspection costs or to address roadway conditions as a result of increased traffic to the area.)

Medford city services are available to all residents, regardless of economic situation, immigration status, ability, benefit eligibility, or religious affiliation.

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