Royalston signs agreement with cannabis business

  • Royalston’s Select Board Tuesday night approved a host community agreement with a proposed marijuana cultivation and manufacturing business. Damon Schmidt, left, representing the business, signs the agreement with board member Roland Hamel and Chair Christine Long looking on, while member Deb D’Amico signs a copy of the pact. GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 1/9/2019 10:00:11 PM
Modified: 1/9/2019 10:00:17 PM

ROYALSTON — The Select Board Tuesday night unanimously approved a host community agreement with a group of investors hoping to build a marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility in town. The partnership was represented by Royalston resident Damon Schmidt.

According to the agreement, said board Chair Christine Long, “The applicant will give us a 2.5 percent community benefit payment annually, with a minimum of $50,000, plus a .5 percent community impact fee annually, and a one-time fee of $15,000 to cover all of our expenses, so far.”

Because the business will not operate as a cannabis retailer, the town will not be able to also collect a 3 percent sales tax as allowed by the state.

“We’re getting 3 percent of any profit from what is sold from this establishment,” said board member Deb D’Amico.

“This is the first time we’ve done this, so we’ve had to learn every step of the way,” added Long.

The board also voted without dissent to have Long sign a host community agreement certification form, which must be submitted to the state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC).

The plan must now be submitted to the CCC for its approval, a process which is currently taking several months to complete. At the moment the commission is currently considering applications locally for three cultivation and manufacturing operations and one cannabis retail business in Athol, one cultivation and manufacturing facility in Orange, and three cannabis retailers in Winchendon.

The Royalston business would be located at 130 South Royalston Road/Route 68, just south of Stockwell Road. The parcel is currently undeveloped, but Schmidt said he expects work to clear the lot should begin in the next few months.

Schmidt said the building housing the operation would be 10,000 square feet in size, adding that the cost to build and equip the structure is estimated at around $1 million. He said several investors are putting up money for the business.

He also said he anticipates having 15 employees within six months of commencing operations.

“There are going to be plenty of retailers around us, so it didn’t make sense to set up another retailer here,” said Schmidt. “With retailers pretty much all around us in Athol and Winchendon, who’s going to travel to Royalston to buy? And this is a small town. A retailer wouldn’t get much business from locals. We’re going to grow and process marijuana to sell to retailers here in the state.”

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