Montague Selectboard signs host community agreement with marijuana tech company

  • GreenHouse Cannabis Group, which provides a web-based delivery service for recreational marijuana, plans to base its administrative office at 41 East Main St. in Millers Falls. The Montague Selectboard signed a host community agreement with the company on Monday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • GreenHouse Cannabis Group, which provides a web-based delivery service for recreational marijuana, plans to base its administrative office at 41 East Main St. in Millers Falls. The Montague Selectboard signed a host community agreement with the company on Monday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 12/8/2020 4:05:17 PM

MONTAGUE — The Selectboard has settled a host community agreement with GreenHouse Cannabis Group Inc., which is doing business as GreenHouse Mobility Solutions, a marijuana delivery technology company planning to open its business office in Millers Falls in the spring.

The agreement includes a “community impact fee” that ramps up to 3 percent of the company’s gross yearly revenue over the course of five years, $15,000 in yearly donations to local charities or nonprofits, and 150 volunteer hours per year.

GreenHouse is the second marijuana company to open in Montague, after the retailer and grower 253 Farmacy opened in 2019. A third, a growing company called Flower Power Growers, has also begun talks with the town to build a complex of greenhouses and warehouses in the industrial park.

GreenHouse’s business plan is to provide software and web services for marijuana retailers in Massachusetts to coordinate deliveries. GreenHouse CEO Joseph Price has described the concept as “the DoorDash of recreational cannabis.”

The Millers Falls office, at 41 East Main St., will not store any product or cash — it is only a technology and business office, and is expected to have only three employees, including Price.

Even so, the company is still subject to all legal regulations of marijuana businesses — including a licensing agreement with the state Cannabis Control Commission, and a separate agreement with the host municipality.

The host community agreement was signed in a Selectboard meeting on Monday. Town Administrator Steve Ellis said the agreement was largely negotiated between himself and Price, with input from Selectboard Chair Rich Kuklewicz.

Although it is technically the same type of agreement that any other marijuana company would have to make with the town, town officials acknowledged that GreenHouse’s business model seems different from that of a marijuana retailer or grower, and that any impact to the town will likely be different.

“It doesn’t bring some of the challenges that a typical grow facility or retail facility would,” Kuklewicz said.

Financially, the most notable part of the agreement is the “community impact fee” — a payment to the municipality meant to offset any costs that might be incurred as a result of the company’s presence. In practice, the money might be used to deal with increased traffic around a retailer or to support drug education in local schools.

However, Ellis noted, with GreenHouse’s business model being different from that of most marijuana companies, the potential impacts are not yet clear.

“We’re not expecting the same impact as retail,” he said in the meeting on Monday.

The impact fee is calculated as a percentage of yearly gross revenue. In the first year of operation it is set at 1 percent, and then increases by 0.5 percent each year, until reaching 3 percent in the fifth year. The impact fee is renegotiated every five years, per the host community agreement.

The agreement also includes pledges to donate $15,000 and 150 volunteer hours every year to local charities or nonprofits. This may include, for example, service on town committees or support for educational programs. Price has said the company is interested in contributing to the improvement of downtown Millers Falls.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.




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