City Signs HCA with Liberty, Refuses to Grant One to Compassionate

The City of Boston has announced that it has signed a Host Community Agreement (HCA) with Liberty Compassion, a medical marijuana proposal on Albany Street, while at the same time refusing to sign an HCA with Compassionate Organics – which had a proposal on Tremont Street.

The story started with the sudden news from Compassionate last Wednesday, Feb. 20, that they were withdrawing because the City wouldn’t endorse that proposal.

“We have basically withdrawn because the City wouldn’t give us a Host Community Agreement,” said Geoff Reilinger, of Compassionate. “We got to the point where we were looking to sign an agreement and they said they weren’t going to do that. That pretty much ended our proposal for Tremont Street. We couldn’t go any further.”

It being a new process, some in the neighborhood weren’t sure that was the case, but this week City officials indicated that they had chosen to sign an HCA with Liberty, and not Compassionate.

Alexis Tkachuk, of the Office of Emerging Industries, has been in charge of the marijuana licensing process throughout the City. Her department is responsible for signing such agreements.

According to the Mayor’s Office, Compassionate had received significant opposition from the community groups and elected officials.

With that consideration, the City instead executed a HCA with Liberty, which is in a commercial space (591 Albany St.) that the City believed is more appropriately sited for a cannabis establishment. Liberty also was not opposed by elected officials or neighborhood groups, the City said.

The HCA is rather cookie cutter and is similar to other that have been signed citywide since the City began awarding them to applicants.

One of the stipulations is that 3 percent of all revenues would be paid to the City quarterly to mitigate the siting of the establishment. Most of the other items are legal terms and definitions.

Some of the items required include:

•security cameras.

•no benches or social gathering areas outside.

•prohibition of consumption on site.

•share data with Boston Public Health Commission.

•ensure access to quality products at all times.

•assist in dissemination of public health information. That HCA does allow Liberty to progress to the next stage of the process, which is applying to the state Cannabis Control Commission and to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a hearing date. Liberty has said it expects to have a ZBA date in the spring.

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