The House yesterday approved a wide-ranging cannabis bill that largely mirrors a bill passed by the Senate in April.

Unlike the Senate bill (S. 2823), however, the House bill (H. 4791) includes language that could retroactively subject existing host community agreements to review by the Cannabis Control Commission, a major concern for the MMA and local officials. With more than 1,000 host community agreements already executed, the provision could lead to numerous legal battles and undermine municipal authority.

The House bill would also eliminate community impact fees after the first five years of a licensee’s operation. The MMA is concerned about eliminating these fees while municipalities are still determining the long-term costs of this rapidly growing and immature industry.

The MMA outlined its concerns about the House bill in a May 18 letter to House members.

The MMA has expressed concerns about language in both the House and Senate bills that would expand the authority of the Cannabis Control Commission in ways that would erode established local authority and cause counterproductive interference in contract negotiations.

The MMA supports provisions in both bills establishing a Social Equity Trust Fund, which would provide grants and loans to Economic Empowerment and Social Equity participants.

The legislation would implement the most significant changes to state cannabis laws since the legalization of adult-use marijuana in 2017.

A House-Senate conference committee will be appointed to work out a final compromise bill, which will need to pass both chambers before being sent to the governor for his consideration. The MMA will continue to closely watch this issue and advocate for municipal needs.

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