The affluent town of Norwell could be home to one of the first places in Massachusetts where people can buy medical marijuana. Since the town of 10,500 is one of the few communities in the state opening its arms to the newly legalized enterprise, local officials hope their tolerance will pay off in big bucks.
Pictured: A medical marijuana plant grows at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle. Next
“We’re looking at it like the casino process: We want to see what kind of benefit we can get,” said Town Administrator James Boudreau. Possibilities include a flat annual fee, contributions to local youth groups, and a percentage of the net revenues, he said.
Pictured: Michael Cardenas showed medical marijuana he purchased outside Arizona Organix, the first legal medical marijuana dispensary to open in Glendale, Ariz. Next
Nineteen businesses have applied for state permission to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Plymouth County, including two actively courting Norwell officials, Boudreau said. Another three companies had been talking to the town, but did not apply with the state to operate specifically in Plymouth County, he said.
Pictured: Tyler Delker, dispensary supervisor and 'Head Budtender,' watered medical marijuana plants ready for harvest in the growing room at 3-D Medical marijuana Center in Denver, Colo. on Jan. 23. Next
“We want to make sure that the community that we operate in, they want us there,” said Jeffrey Roos, whose Mass Medi-Spa also wants to take advantage of Norwell’s willingness — for a price — to host a medical marijuana site.
Statewide, 181 businesses applied in August for what ultimately will be up to 35 permits to cultivate, process, and provide medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products. No more than five are allowed per county, according to the law approved by voter referendum in November 2012.
Pictured: Medical marijuana is packaged for sale in 1-gram packages at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary on Nov. 7, 2012 in Seattle. Next
Norwell voted overwhelmingly — by a 60 percent majority — in favor of the medical marijuana ballot question. And at the town meeting last May, the town quickly approved a zoning change to allow dispensaries in the town’s two industrial parks at the far northwest edge of town: 122-acre Accord Pond Park and 150-acre Assinippi Industrial Park.
Pictured: Customers browsed the showcases at the Harborside Health Clinic in Oakland, Calif., on June 30, 2010. Next
Town planner Christopher DiIorio said both Mass Medi-Spa of Nantucket and Holistic Health Center of Boston are waiting to hear whether they have passed initial state scrutiny. The state Department of Public Health must first rule that they are nonprofit companies with at least $500,000 in capital and clean criminal histories.
Pictured: Different varieties of medical marijuana in their containers at the dispensary at the 3-D Medical marijuana Center in Denver, Colo. Next
Health department spokesman David Kibbe said the state expects to make its “Phase 1” decisions this fall. He noted that companies are not limited to the county they initially select and “can propose a new location as they move into Phase 2 of the process.” That next step entails securing a specific site and getting the blessing of the local community, he said, before going back to the state for a rigorous review of the plans.
Pictured: Attendees looked at marijuana paraphenelia displays at the HempCon medical marijuana show at the Los Angeles Convention Center on May 24. Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts gathered for the three-day event for exhibits of medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives, evaluation services, legal services and equipment and accessories. Next
The state anticipates selecting a final list of dispensaries and sites by the end of the year, he said. After that, the projects go back to the host community for approval.
Nantucket-based Mass Medi-Spa has applied to operate on its home island and in Norwell. Roos, its chief executive, said he could not comment while his company’s application is pending with the state, but he referred to the company’s Web page, which said local plans call for a facility to grow, process, and sell medical marijuana products.
Pictured: U.S. Justice Department said Aug. 29 that it wouldn't sue to challenge laws legalizing marijuana in 20 states. Back to the beginning
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