Selectmen Monday night are expected to vote on a pair of Host Community Agreements with two new adult-use marijuana operations that could generate hundreds of thousands of additional tax dollars annually.
NashMac, LLC, and Natural Agricultural Products, LLC, are both looking to start multi-faceted marijuana operations on the north end of Abington that would include growing cannabis, processing it into products, selling it wholesale, and operating retail storefronts
NashMac’s operations would be located at 678 Adams Street. The cultivation and manufacturing operations would take over the site’s trucking terminal building; the retail store would be located in what is now a mattress shop, according to company president Michael Nashawaty.
Natural Agricultural Products is also looking to run a cultivation, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail operation, according to company president Gary Leonard.
The Host Community Agreements spell out the general terms under which the business would operate. They are required under state law as part of the permitting process.
Abington already has Host Community Agreements in place with Bud’s Goods and Provisions, which is scheduled to open at 1540 Bedford Street in the coming weeks, and Green Harbor Dispensary, which is finishing up the local permitting process for a retail shop at 1410 Bedford Street.
Adult use marijuana stands to be a significant source of new economic development for Abington in the coming years.
For starters, as the owners invest in site improvements, install new equipment, and build successful business, the properties will generate increased annual commercial and personal property taxes for the town.
In addition, under state law, Abington will receive 3 percent of all gross revenue in the form of community impact fees. This money must be used to offset municipal costs associated with the industry, such as inspectional services, traffic mitigation, public safety, or substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.
Finally, Abington also has approved a 3 percent local sales tax. This revenue can be used for any budgetary need. The local sales tax applies to retail sales as well as wholesale sales made to other out-of-town retailers.
Alex Mazin, president of Bud’s Goods, said previously he hopes to do about $8 million in annual business, which would generate $240,000 in local sales tax revenue alone.
Four wholesale and retail operations have the potential to eventually generate several hundred thousands of dollars annually for Abington, however there have not been any formal studies to estimate the total economic impact for the town.
The agreements with NashMac and Natural Agricultural Products have been in the works since Town Meeting voted in November to increase the number of available retail licenses from two to five. Town Manager Scott Lambiase said the process was slowed by a lengthy review of the new bylaw by the state Attorney General’s Office.
[Editor’s note: The Attorney General’s Office reviews every new bylaw and ordinance passed by a city or town to ensure they are legally sound and don’t conflict with state law.]
The Attorney General approved Abington’s new cap on licenses but is requiring the town to amend some of the language around delivery services to reflect new state regulations.
Leonard, a well known businessman and civic leader in Brockton, originally planned to own multiple marijuana businesses in that city, including a 100,000-square-foot cultivation and manufacturing operation in a former shoe factory. However, Leonard said a change in city leadership to an administration less marijuana-friendly has slowed down progress.
“It came to the point where I have to get this up and running,” said Leonard, a former Main Street Manager for the Brockton 21st Century Corporation, a quasi-public agency charged with revitalizing the former manufacturing powerhouse. “I have 22 employees and I need to get some income coming in.”
Leonard is looking to lease 1437 Bedford Street, which was most recently home to Stronghold Ops, an airsoft and laser tag facility. The cultivation and manufacturing operations will be located in the rear of the building, and the retail business in the front. Leonard said he already has contracts in place to supply cannabis products to other area retail shops.
The front of the site is currently used as a terminal for school buses; the buses will be relocated, Leonard said.
Once the Host Community Agreements are signed, the proponents are required under state law to hold separate public forums to discuss their plans. The Planning Board must also review traffic, parking, landscaping, hours of operation, and other aspects of the projects.