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Law360 reports on $6M lawsuit filed by David Rich on behalf of cannabis retailers

A group of cannabis retailers represented by David H. Rich is suing a Massachusetts community to recover $6 million in illegally collected community impact fees.

The complaint alleges that the Town of Great Barrington has not only refused to refund the fees but is holding up renewed retail licenses until the retailers pay additional fees.

The Town has admitted that it has incurred no costs associated with the operation of the retailers’ businesses. 

Massachusetts law requires cannabis retailers to sign a Host Community Agreement with a municipality as a condition for a retail license and allows municipalities to collect fees to offset costs incurred from permitting cannabis retail operations.

"This very important case seeks to curb clear governmental overreach through the unlawful assessment of millions of dollars in impact fees from small, locally owned businesses," Mr. Rich told Law360.  "The government repeatedly acknowledged in writing that it suffered no actual financial impact, yet it continued assessing fees, year after year, in clear contravention of Massachusetts law.  The plaintiffs' lawsuit simply seeks the return of those fees which they should not lawfully have been assessed."

Mr. Rich, a partner at the firm, has a diverse complex business litigation practice, including representing cannabis industry clients combating obstacles created by municipal officials and working with government regulators.