Sheffield moves moves forward with marijuana host community agreement

By Theodore Nappo

SHEFFIELD — The town has become the latest in Berkshire County to introduce a Host Community Agreement (HCA) for potential marijuana businesses.

On Monday night at the Sheffield select board meeting, the board approved the latest draft for their HCA template. Although amendments and corrections are still being made to the draft template, two companies have already expressed interest in entering an HCA with the town.

Unlike Great Barrington, Sheffield’s neighbor to the north, there will be no application fee to enter an HCA for a marijuana business. Clarifications were made to the HCA template during Monday’s meeting. The select board agreed for the annual payments to Sheffield from the dispensaries be made in accordance with the fiscal year in early June, rather than the calendar year. Kopelman & Paige, a law firm specializing in public-sector work based in Boston, assisted Sheffield with the drafting of the HCA template. The template will be reviewed again by the Town Administrator, Rhonda LaBombard, as well as the town’s three-member select board.

Sheffield may be getting not one but two marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities. The template reviewed by the select board is geared for both retailers and cultivators. As of May of this year, Hennep Inc., was in the public-hearing phase of their pursuit to become Sheffield’s newest retail business.

“There’s an awful lot of opportunity for the community in this industry,” said Chris Weld of Berkshire Welco LLC in March at a public information hearing. Berkshire Welco is one of two companies interested in opening a retail dispensary in Sheffield. Weld explained that if Berkshire Welco enters an HCA with Sheffield then Berkshire Welco will devote 3 percent of the business’ revenue to Sheffield in taxes. He also emphasized that Berkshire Welco will happily comply with all regulations and would assist the community in discouraging underage drug use.

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