BOSTON — Less than a week after Mayor Jasiel Correia II was arrested for allegedly extorting roughly $600,000 from cannabis businesses trying to open in Fall River, a state representative from a neighboring community has filed legislation to prevent any more Fall River dispensaries from being allowed to open for the time being.
A bill titled “An Act Moratorium on marijuana establishments in the city of Fall River” has been submitted to the Legislature by 9th District state Rep. Christopher Markey, who chairs the Massachusetts House Committee on Ethics.
According to a draft of the legislation, Markey is asking for any marijuana establishment license application, pursuant to Section 5 of Chapter 94G of the Massachusetts General laws, that has not yet been granted a provisional or final license by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission as of Sept. 6, to be voided.
The bill goes on to state that no new marijuana establishment license applications for businesses in Fall River should be accepted or considered by the Cannabis Control Commission prior to Jan. 15, 2020.
Markey told The Herald News he hoped the bill would effectively mean pending applications yet to receive a provisional license would be temporarily halted until the CCC has more time to investigate issues in Fall River.
“My hope would be that it’s kind of a pause button and that wherever people are in line, they aren’t further delayed by this,” he said.
Correia is alleged to have solicited bribes from four businesses trying to open cannabis facilities in Fall River. In exchange, he allegedly provided companies with the letters of non-opposition and host community agreements each need to continue in the licensing process. The two documents represent the only two approvals local officials have in permitting dispensaries, and Correia is the only Fall River official with the authority to sign off on them.
Markey explained that his hope is, by temporarily halting pending Fall River applications, the CCC members will have enough time to investigate the allegations coming out of Fall River without diverting time away from the pending applications for dispensaries in other Massachusetts communities.
Markey, who represents the communities of Dartmouth and New Bedford, said he did not consult with Fall River’s delegation prior to filing his bill.
Earlier this week, Fall River’s three state representatives sent a letter to the CCC asking they enact a temporary moratorium on…