What Can A Town Do If A Cannabis Biz Loses Its State License?

“We started looking at the local Host Community Agreement regarding what teeth we may have – or not.”

As we reported last week, following all sorts of outrageous behavior by Elev8 owner Seun Adedeji, the Athol dispensary was hit with a summary suspension order of “all agent registrations associated with [Elev8] … and the cessation of all licensed operations.”

The move came after the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission “determined that” the company, “through the acts of its majority owner, poses an immediate or serious threat to the public health, safety, or welfare,” and documented many of the dispensary’s dirty details in a timeline.

Having to grapple with the state suspension on its own terms, Athol Selectboard members juggled different options at their meeting on Tuesday. As the Athol Daily News reported, Town Manager Shaun Suhoski told the board, “On March 23, we became aware of an incident at one of the retail shops downtown, and after I became aware of it – although I did contact the police department and the Cannabis Control Commission about it – our police department had already responded to deal with the immediate incident … Thereafter, information was shared with the state licensing board. They’ve issued a summary suspension order, effective March 25, relative to Elev8 Cannabis.”

The paper also noted that “Adedeji was arrested by Athol Police on March 23 after failing to make a March 17 appearance in Orange District Court to answer to a variety of charges.” And that “at his March 24 arraignment, Adedeji was, at the request of his attorney, ordered to undergo an evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial. He is scheduled to return to court on April 14.”

Since Adedeji has 21 days to appeal the state’s suspension order, the board punted to its next meeting, on April 18, to take action on the matter. In the meantime, they’re in interesting waters and are exploring their options. Suhoski told the Daily News:

“We started looking at the local Host Community Agreement regarding what teeth we may have – or not. … It’s clear that the licensure is through the state. However, if the license is revoked or the business ceases its operations, then it would be a violation of the Host Community Agreement. We’re looking at other terms therein, too, with Town Counsel, but I don’t know if that (would require) executive session or not. I want to tread lightly.”