State asks Fall River to 'recertify' marijuana agreements following mayor's indictmentPosted by On


FALL RIVER — The fallout from Jasiel Correia II’s second federal indictment in a year, which includes allegations of extortion and bribery against local pot companies, continues as the Cannabis Control Commission requests the city “recertify” a number of host agreements signed by the mayor.

Some of the marijuana companies identified by the CCC as “the Fall River applicants” are at the center of the federal government’s allegations of political corruption stemming from the mayor’s office.

Corporation Counsel Joseph Macy received a letter dated Sept. 19 from the commission’s chief of investigations and enforcement. In the letter, the commission indicates that given “the nexus” between the federal government indictment against Correia and the process for a marijuana vendor to move ahead with licensing through a municipality, Macy is being asked to provide the recertification of applicants to determine if they meet “compliance with all local permits, rules, regulations and ordinances.”

The CCC asks for the recertification documents to be returned within 14 days of the notice or the commission could take action that include deeming applications incomplete or investigating.

Macy said he has communicated with the CCC twice this week and that he’s not in a position to respond.

“I haven’t decided how to frame a response or if to frame a response,” said Macy. “What they are asking for is way beyond the simple forms I’m used to from the CCC.”

Macy added that this is the first time the CCC has requested anything of him directly as corporation counsel.

Asked if Correia was involved in the recertification request, Macy responded, “Not now.”

A further complication with the CCC request, said Macy, is that the federal government could be continuing its criminal investigation into the mayor.

“According to the U.S. Attorney, there’s still an ongoing investigation. So the city has to be ultra-cautious with what it discusses in public and what response, if any,” said Macy.

Correia was arrested Sept. 6 at his Peckham Street apartment for the second time in a year, charged with 11 more federal counts. Unlike his October 2018 indictment and arraignment on 13 counts for alleged wire and tax fraud associated with his smartphone app company, SnoOwl, this latest round of charges centered on alleged extortion and bribery of marijuana vendors.

Correia was set for arraignment on the new indictment in Boston federal court Thursday, along with his former chief of staff and campaign manager, Gen Andrade.

Since taking office in 2016, Correia has signed 14 letters of non-opposition and host agreements with 13 marijuana companies.

Marijuana companies listed by the CCC for recertification include those that have started operations for recreational retail, cultivation and product manufacturing. Other applicants are either operating or are in the process of being licensed for medical marijuana businesses.

One of the companies identified by the CCC is Northeast Alternatives, on William S. Canning Boulevard, the only operating recreational dispensary in the city.

During one of Andrade’s court hearings, her attorney Charles Rankin identified Northeast Alternatives as so-called Marijuana Vendor #5 in Correia’s second indictment.

Likewise, Rankin identified Greener Leaf as Marijuana Vendor #4, with a planned location on Rhode Island Avenue. Greener Leaf is also tagged for recertification by the CCC.

The Herald News has identified Marijuana Vendor #1 named in the indictment and by the CCC as Nature’s Medicine, operating a medical marijuana dispensary at Globe Four Corners.

On Tuesday, City Council Vice President Pam Laliberte-Lebeau penned her own letter to Macy, asking him to seek a deadline extension from the CCC so that the City Council can have a public discussion on the recertification process at its next meeting Oct. 8.

“We are also asking for all the correspondence between the city and the companies before, during and after the process [with the mayor],” said Laliberte-Lebeau.

In an email, CCC spokesperson Maryalice Gill offered this explanation of the agency’s request to Macy: “Recertification pertains to host community agreements (HCAs) and, where appropriate in the Cannabis Control Commission’s licensing process, certification of compliance with local ordinances and bylaws. Depending on the status of the licensing application, recertification may be needed for the HCA or both.”

Gill indicated this is the first time the CCC has made such a request of a host community.

Rep. Carole Fiola has been working with fellow legislators and the CCC since allegations surfaced that Correia extorted money in exchange for letters of non-opposition and host agreements.

“This is a new industry that is only approximately one year old. This is new to everyone. … On top of the new industry and new process are new issues and we’re probably dealing with some of the worst issues you could deal with in this…

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