Supreme Judicial Court Hears Arguments On Local Cannabis License Control

Written by Brit Smith

SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The state's Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Wednesday from a cannabis company that is suing the City of Salem for rejecting its application to set up shop.

According to the lawsuit filed by Meredi Inc., the City of Salem acted arbitrarily when it denied the company one of its highly-sought after Host Community Agreements.

HCA's are an essential prerequisite for any marijuana business trying to score a business license from the state's Cannabis Control Commission. In accordance with state law, the City of Salem has approved a maximum of five HCA's for recreational marijuana companies, which can now apply for a license to operate from the CCC.

Mederi was one of the three companies that was denied an HCA with Salem in 2019. It later sued the city for allegedly making a frivolous decision when granting the agreements.

According to Salem's HCA application process, the City’s review process for the agreements is based on "a desire to ensure the highest quality operators, with locations that minimally impact surrounding neighbors or the community at large."

At the state Supreme Court Wednesday, attorney William Sheehan argued that the city had put up a roadblock against the company.

"The city of Salem refused that HCA," Sheehan said, "preventing Mederi from getting to the next step in this two-step process."

The case of Meredi, Inc. vs. the City of Salem boils down to one essential question; how much control should a local municipality have over who should be allowed to sell marijuana in their community, if it's ultimately the state Cannabis Control Commission that approves the business licenses?

The court plans to rule on Meridi's lawsuit at a future date.

WBZ NewsRadio's Carl Stevens reports:

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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