FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Following accusations that Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia extorted marijuana vendors for thousands of dollars of cash, a state representative is proposing legislation that would prevent more dispensaries from opening in the city.
Rep. Christopher Markey, D-Dartmouth, who is chair of the Massachusetts House Committee on Ethics, drafted a bill that voids all marijuana businesses that were not granted a provisional or final license by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission as of Sept. 6.
The bill also proposes that no new license applications for dispensaries trying to come to the city could be accepted or considered by the commission until Jan. 15, 2020.
“I think people already are suspect of the whole marijuana industry,” Markey said. “I think it’s going to be a very important economic boom in the Commonwealth and I felt like people need to know that there’s a level playing field.”
Markey’s proposed bill comes just days after three state representatives submitted a letter to the Cannabis Control Commission, asking the agency to halt any pending approvals of retail and medical marijuana applications in the city.
Correia is accused of soliciting bribes from marijuana vendors in exchange of him signing off on approvals for the businesses to open in the city. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
If the legislation is approved, it could put several ongoing business ventures in jeopardy.
A spokeswoman for the Cannabis Control Commission told Eyewitness News the commission is, “reviewing the U.S. attorney’s indictment against the mayor of Fall River and will monitor any ongoing investigation to protect the integrity of the Commonwealth’s licensing process.”
Markey’s bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing, though he says he’d like to see the legislature take swift action.