The Saga Continues . . .

Last night, I appeared at the Select Board meeting and read this statement:

I was here two weeks ago to ask this board to find out when the Littleton Apothecary is planning to open.     

Have you done that?*

A week and a half ago, Christine Nordhaus posted about the Apothecary on Facebook.

Some questions were asked. Including this one: “What is the actual expected timeline for the opening of the Apothecary.”

Every question posed to her in that thread got an answer.

Except that one.

I would suggest that a fair reading of Christine’s post makes also makes it sound like she’s also no longer capitalized.

Three years ago, the town of Littleton awarded a license to someone who today has no answer on an “actual expected timeline for opening” and sounds like she’s out of money.

Presuming that the Apothecary continues to be non-operational, the Special Permit the Apothecary has will lapse in September, freeing up the license, which this board will be tasked with awarding to some other entity.

And I’m here to suggest that this board do some concurrent planning.

Instead of waiting until September to open a window for applications, I think it would be wise to open that window, say from May 15th to June 15th, and get proposals so that when the Special Permit does lapse in September, the groundwork is done, and you’re ready to enter into an HCA with a fully vetted, fully capitalized entity who presents the town with good plan and an actual expected timeline for opening.

And I hope you’ll take a vote on that soon.

*I asked this direct question to the Board. I did not receive an answer. Instead, I was told that it was “public input,” which, in this case, seemed to mean the information would only be flowing in one direction.

To recap what’s happened in the last year:

April 2022, Email inquiry made by a resident/taxpayer. She was told to check back in “after town meeting.”

May 2022, Follow-up email sent by same resident/taxpayer.

May 2022, Reorganization of the Board: Matthew Nordhaus is selected as Chair for 1-year term. The chair, along with the town administrator, sets the agenda.

May 2022, Cindy Napoli, Select Board member, makes a request for an update on HCAs.

Summer 2022, I meet with Anthony Ansaldi, the then Town Administrator, in his office, with my spouse. I ask Anthony if he knows what’s happening with the Apothecary. Anthony suggests I write a letter to the Board.

August 10, 2022, I send a letter via email to each member of the board and to Anthony requesting that my letter be read during the next meeting and that my letter be included in the Board’s packet.

August 22, 2022, My letter to the Board was neither read aloud nor included in the Board’s meeting packet. However, “Discussion regarding Host Community Agreements” was on the agenda as requested by Cindy Napoli, who mentions that she first made a request for this issue to be discussed by the Board in May.

Click this to link to the meeting and go to minute marker 1:29:40. There you’ll see Chair Matthew Nordhaus introduce the topic of “Discussion regarding Host Community Agreements” and then not only remain at the table but contribute to the discussion.

For those wondering why this matters: His spouse, Christine Nordhaus through Littleton Apothecary, holds an HCA with the town and, as such, Matthew is required by Conflict of Interest Laws to recuse himself. He did not recuse himself.

At 1:31:50, Cindy refers to Littleton Apothecary.

At 1:33:45, Matthew is the first to speak to after Cindy. He does so for approximately thirty seconds. Note: his statement is made right on the heels of Cindy’s specifically citing the non-operation of the Apothecary and the loss of potential tax revenue from the Apothecary’s ongoing non-operation. Matthew’s participation in this discussion is a violation of the Conflict of Interest Laws set forth by both the town and the commonwealth.

The discussion continues with Gary Wilson weighing in and making the point about lost tax revenue and the need to get HCA holders in front of the Board to have a discussion. Chuck Decoste also spoke and made the point that no revenue has yet come to the town from the retail cannabis HCAs. Mark Rambacher states his interest in knowing which entities are up-to-date on their payments to the town.

At 1:40:45, Matthew, still talking about HCAs, mentions how much a cannabis retailer in a neighboring town made the previous year, citing $18,000,000.00 as the amount. (Others have cited $31,000,000.00). Matthew suggests that “you can do the math” to see how much tax revenue came in from the 3% excise tax on retail cannabis.

“The math” on that amounts to $540,000.00 (or $930,000.00 if applying the other figure) of tax revenue collected by this neighboring town through the excise tax on one retail pot shop. Matthew echoes the point about lost revenue. The discussion continues until 1:44:00.

On November 1, 2022, though on the agenda, the issue of the Apothecary’s non-operation is not addressed during the “Host Community Agreement Update” agenda item.

On February 13, 2023, I speak during public input about the Apothecary’s non-operation and am advised to check back in two weeks.

Two weeks later, on February 27, 2023, there is no HCA update on the Apothecary. I’m advised to check back in two weeks.

Two weeks later, on March 13 2023, the Board’s meeting is cut short by snow and no discussion is had on the Apothecary’s non-operation. I’m advised to check back in two weeks.

On March 27, 2023, the agenda reflects that there will be an HCA Update. However, the discussion is about amending HCA agreements based on a change in the laws regarding “Community Impact Fees.” There is no update on the non-operation of the Apothecary.

On April 10, I speak during public input. The details of that are here. There is no update on the non-operation of the Apothecary.

I was back before the Board last night. I did not get an answer to my “Have you done that” question, i.e., Have you found out when the Apothecary plans to open?

Every day, Littleton misses out on the opportunity to reap the benefit of 3% excise tax on sales at the Apothecary. Moreover, the commonwealth is missing out on 11.75% cannabis tax.

This is not right.

2 thoughts on “The Saga Continues . . .

  1. Is there anyone else asking the Board to address this? Are you being ignored because they don’t see it as an issue to anyone but you? Can you get some others to speak up and ask the questions? Your questions and concerns are well documented but more townspeop

    Liked by 1 person

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