FALL RIVER – The city’s first year of legalized recreational marijuana sales netted local coffers over $2 million in new revenues.

As of Dec. 31, 2019, Fall River had a total of three cannabis dispensaries operating in the city. Northeast Alternatives became the first to conduct recreational sales, expanding from solely medical marijuana in January. Hope Heal Health, which was recently approved for recreational sales, spent the majority of 2019 selling medical marijuana, as did Nature’s Medicine, Fall River’s third dispensary.

The sum total of revenues the city received from hosting these three businesses was $2,191,510.

The bulk of that total was made off of revenues from just Northeast Alternatives, the only one of the three dispensaries able to sell recreational cannabis. A local 3% tax on the dispensary’s sales netted $984,113 for Fall River, which doubled through a matched amount reimbursed by the state.

Medical marijuana revenues from all three businesses was significantly lower in 2019, with the city getting a total $73,284 in tax revenues.

The city also received $150,000 in revenues through the annual $50,000 operating fee each dispensary is required to pay.

Local sales tax revenues are paid to the city on a monthly basis, with businesses having regular financial contributions mapped out in the host community agreements they signed with the city. With a few small exceptions, each host community agreement follows the same template.

To date, Fall River has entered into host community agreements with about a dozen other companies hoping to open local facilities. Depending on how quickly these companies advance through the state’s licensing approval process, Fall River is poised to receive an even higher amount of marijuana revenues by the end of 2020.

Northeast Alternatives may be the only recreational business currently operating in Fall River, but Hope Heal Health was approved for a recreational sales license last month. Company CEO John Rogue toldThe Herald Newsthat he hoped to officially begin adult-use sales as early as this month.

Another five businesses are actively working through the CCC’s approval process to also get licenses to sell recreational marijuana.

According to CCC records, three businesses – Agricultural Healing, Aura Cannabis and The Haven Center – have submitted retail license applications with the state.

Two other businesses – Greener Leaf and Nature’s Medicine – have been granted provisional retail licenses and are awaiting final approval.

The city’s annual budget for fiscal 2020 accounted for marijuana revenues, but the listed revenues were only projections based on the first full month of sales conducted in Fall River. City officials’ early estimates actually put the projected total at about $1.8 million.

Outside Fall River, the CCC reports that Massachusetts’ fledgling recreational marijuana industry collected roughly $420 million in sales during its first full year. Of that $420 million, approximately $71.4 million in estimated taxes were collected.


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