Aspiring Massachusetts Pot Shop Owners Frustrated By Slow Licensing Process

As the greater Boston area prepares for its first recreational pot shop — slated to open soon in Brookline — some marijuana advocates argue that the licensing process has been too slow. The Brookline store will be the 11th recreational marijuana business in the state since the first one opened in November.The problem, advocates say, is that officials botched one of the most important parts of the marijuana law.The law gives cities and towns a lot of control over pot shops through what are called host community agreements, or HCA’s. These HCA’s allow communities to impose up to a 3 percent tax on marijuana businesses as well as an “impact fee,” a documented amount of extra money a community believes it would spend to support a recreational marijuana operation.Antoine J. Khalife is president of SoCo Green, a company trying to open a recreational pot shop in New Bedford. His application is awaiting approval from the city council, and he said he is concerned about the impact fee he will be charged.

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