Fiola files bill to place a lot more neighborhood oversight on marijuana applications

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FALL RIVER — Rep. Carole Fiola announced legislation Friday that would alter the neighborhood approval method for potential cannabis businesses in Fall River and other Massachusetts communities, the second bill filed in response to the arrest of Mayor Jasiel Correia II for allegedly extorting money from would-be pot vendors in exchange for non-opposition letters.

Fiola’s bill would demand cannabis businesses to safe approval from a majority of elected officials sitting on leading locally elected boards in Massachusetts communities, which in Fall River implies the City Council. The bill would also demand notice of a meeting to vote on approval to be posted a single week in advance.

“The bill demands that ahead of the chief municipal official indicators that agreement they have to place it in front of the City Council for majority vote, and make certain the public knows via a seven-day notice that that meeting will take spot and the City Council will vote on it,” Fiola told The Herald News Friday.

Below existing state law, communities can establish their personal processes for granting neighborhood approval to cannabis businesses, which in Fall River integrated the issuance of non-opposition letters. Correia is the sole public official in the city who troubles non-opposition letters, which pave the way for license applications to the Cannabis Handle Commission.

Correia was arrested for the second time in significantly less than a year Sept. six on 11 federal charges associated to the alleged extortion of bribes from 4 potential pot vendors in exchange for neighborhood approval. He has maintained his innocence.

At a press conference following Correia’s arrest, U.S. District Lawyer Andrew Lelling indicated current law could set the stage for government corruption.

“You have a predicament exactly where neighborhood authorities, neighborhood mayors, could be sorely tempted to take some type of bribe or extort some type of payment in exchange for a letter, and that single letter can be the ticket to a marijuana dispensary opening a extremely profitable small business in a provided town,” Lelling stated Sept. six.

Fiola’s bill comes a single day following 9th District state Rep. Christopher Markey filed a bill that would impose a moratorium on new marijuana corporations opening in Fall River till Jan. 15, 2020.

Fiola, Rep. Paul Schmid and Rep. Alan Silvia earlier in the week asked the Cannabis Handle Commission to delay pending applications for cannabis corporations in the city and spot a moratorium on retail licenses following prosecutor Lelling…

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