An aerial shot of 1437 Bedford Street, the proposed site of a new cannabis business

Public meeting Tuesday night on new cannabis shop

Natural Agricultural Products – which is looking to open a new cannabis retail, wholesale, cultivation, and manufacturing operation on Route 18 – is holding a community tonight at 6 p.m.

The meeting, which is required by state law, will take place at the proposed business site: 1437 Bedford Street, which most recently was home to Stronghold Ops, an airsoft and laser tag facility. It will be hosted by business president Gary Leonard, a longtime Brockton businessman, and will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions and learn more about the project.

Leoonard recently was a guest on Abington Community Access & Media’s Community Chat series.

Leonard had preliminary state permits in place to open a 100,000 square foot cannabis operation in a former shoe factory in Brockton but that project stalled, prompting him to look for other locations. A real estate connection linked Leonard up with another business that was already in negotiations with the Town of Abington for a Host Community Agreement to open a cannabis retail and grow operation at the Bedford Street location. That business transferred the application to Leonard, who says he already has contracts in place to supply cannabis products to other area retail operations.

Following the community meeting, Leonard must file a site plan with the Planning Board that will undergo a technical review and a formal public hearing process. If the project receives all local permits, the building will be renovated and then undergo local and state inspections before it can open for business.

Bud’s Good’s and Provisions, Abington’s first retail cannabis shop, opened its doors earlier this month at 1540 Bedford Street, which is not too far away from the proposed Natural Agricultural Products location. Green Harbor Dispensary, another retail shop proposed for 1410 Bedford Street recently secured all its needed local permits.

NashMac, LLC, which is also looking to open a combined cultvation, manuacturing, wholesale, and retail operation at 678 Adams Street, signed its Host Community Agreement earlier this month. Business President Michael Nashawaty said its community meeting is scheduled for June 8th, at 7 p.m., at the Abington Knights of Columbus.

NashMac will then also have to file its site plan with the Planning Board and seek all needed local permits.

The Host Community Agreements spell out some details around how the cannabis-related businessses will operate, as well as outlines a number of fees and payments that town will receive. For example, Abington will receive 3 percent of all gross sales as a community impact fee, which can then be used to offset any municipal costs associated with the business, including inspectional services, public safety, substance abuse education and prevention programs, and infrastructure needs. The fee expires in five years, and it is not clear what happens if the town does not use all the money it collects.

This funding is in addition to increased commercial real estate taxes and personal property excise taxes the operations will generate, as well as a 3 percent local sales tax levied on all sales within Abington. That sales tax applies to both retail and wholesale sales.

Abington Town Meeting approved a town budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 that includes $215,000 in local tax revenue from cannabis shops. It’s unclear how much local tax revenue four retail shops, plus two cultivation, manufacturing, and wholesale operations would generate, but it could be as much as $1 million annually for Abington.

[DISCLOSURE: The author is a member of the Abington Planning Board]