- November 21, 2020
Jo C. Goode
FALL RIVER — In June 2019, representatives of Northeast Alternatives told the residents of Lakeville that they anticipated getting approval from the Cannabis Control Commission within 90 days to open an 80,000 square foot recreational marijuana cultivation operation in the town’s industrial park.
That didn’t happen and on Thursday the CCC put a wrench in the recreational and medical marijuana company’s plans.
After a four-hour executive session meeting, the CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman read a two-part motion approved by the commission.
Hoffman said that Northeast Alternatives had an incomplete application based on the investigation by the CCC enforcement counsel from information in evidence in the federal case against former Mayor Jasiel Correia II.
“Which raises the likelihood of a suitability issue and the need to further investigate and could constitute the basis for denial of the application,” said Hoffman.
With that, the commission ordered its investigative staff to continue an investigation and bring back a recommendation of the company’s suitability.
Northeast Alternatives is not named in a 24-count indictment against Correia, but has been identified by The Herald News as marijuana vendor No. 5.
The marijuana company, located on William Canning Boulevard, was the first company in the city to receive a recreational marijuana license.
Correia is accused of extorting at least four marijuana companies for hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for letters of non-opposition required to receive a state cannabis license.
His former chief of staff and campaign manager, Gen Andrade, is also facing charges for her alleged part in the former mayor’s scheme.
While the indictment does not indicate that Northeast Alternatives had given Correia bribery money before receiving a letter on non-opposition, the company, JH Holdings Group, did give Correia a $20,000 donation in April 2018 to the then-mayor’s legal defense fund. JH Holdings Group owns Northeast Alternatives.
Four days earlier, Christopher Harkins, a principal with Northeast Alternatives, signed a host agreement with Correia.
Harkins is named on the federal government’s witness list.
Last February, Federal Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock ruled that documents in the extortion case against Correia could be disclosed to the CCC in relation to the marijuana vendors named in the case.
During the CCC’s lengthy executive session on Thursday, the members discussed another city marijuana company, Nature’s Medicine, formerly Xiphias Wellness, which is marijuana vendor No. 1 in Correia’s federal indictment.
In the summer of 2016, a company representative allegedly pledged $250,000 to Correia in exchange for a letter of non-opposition and $100,000 was reportedly paid upfront through a middleman.
The company’s former chairman, David Brayton, is also on the federal prosecutors’ witness list.
Unlike the delay in Northeast Alternatives licensing for cultivation, Hoffman said that the commission approved Nature’s Medicine’s two pending licenses to sell recreational marijuana with conditions.
Because the documents provided to the CCC were ordered protected by the federal judge in Correia’s criminal case, Hoffman declined to identify the nature of the conditions.
Both Nature’s Medicine and Northeast Alternatives have both filed lawsuits against the CCC seeking preliminary injunctions.
Nature’s Medicine has a hearing date in Worcester Superior Court set for Dec. 1 which as of Friday was not cancelled.
In October, a Suffolk County Superior Court judge denied Northeast Alternatives motion for the preliminary injunction pending the CCC’s Nov. 19 hearing.
A status review conference was scheduled for Dec. 2.
Email Jo C. Goode at firstname.lastname@example.org
Located at: Seattle
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