By Sara Brown
A medical marijuana facility is expected to open in Revere on Railroad Avenue, and Councillor-at-Large Steve Morabito wants the city to charge a 3 percent tax. At the February 5 City Council meeting, Morabito requested that the council accept Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64N, Section 3 as amended by chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017. This allows the city to have a 3 percent sales tax on anything that is sold at the facility. The money raised from the tax will be used to fund education on substance abuse and to help with addiction recovery.
“This is a gateway drug,” Morabito said. “I’d like to see the funds go to education and addiction recovery. As a city we should take advantage of this.”
Morabito also requested a host agreement between the city and the medical marijuana facility, which allows them to tax an additional three percent for five years. “This will sweeten the deal,” said Morabito.
Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo said he is in favor of the idea but wants to make sure the right group gets the funding for education. “I’m all for education; I just want it to be for the right group,” Rotondo said. “Show me outcomes and give me results.”
He said there were certain groups in the city and area that he believes do not get quality results in terms of addiction recovery and education. “I don’t want education just for the purpose of a grant – I am not impressed by it,” he said.
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said the council could accept the law that night and then later on figure out where in the budget it should go. However, Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto didn’t think that was a good idea. “I don’t want to jump the gun here,” he said. “There is no urgency to get this done tonight.”
“I somewhat agree with merit-based funding,” Zambuto added. “I certainly don’t want to see it in any general fund.”
The council sent the motion to the Legislative Affairs Subcommittee.