SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 20, 2014

Denial of marijuana license appealed

Ipswich: Nonprofit still hopes to get one of remaining state licenses

An Ipswich nonprofit hoping to open a medical marijuana clinic on Route 1 has appealed the state’s decision denying it a provisional license.

Joseph McCarthy, president of Ipswich Pharmaceutical Associates, said a hearing with the state Department of Public Health is set for March 6. He said the company, which proposed to grow and dispense marijuana, was denied because a professional cultivation consultant they had planned to use withdrew, resulting in a poor score in the operations and programmatic section of the application.

The facility was proposed for a commercial building at 31 Turnpike Road (Route 1). The company would lease 4,000 square feet in the building, which also houses the Jaquith Carbide Corporation, McCarthy said.

He said the company would grow, process and dispense medical marijuana, including in marijuana-infused products such as baked goods.

“Although we don’t have a license, and we understand there have been complications in the process, we are still moving forward and working on our game plan,” McCarthy said. “We believe in providing the proper medicine and resources for the patient, as well as giving back to the town.”

McCarthy, a disabled Marine veteran and Ipswich resident, said the idea to start the firm came out of 10 years of research and more than two years of planning for the application. It’s also personal: His brother has epilepsy, and five members of his family have been diagnosed with cancer, including his mother and sister, he said.

“They both said to me that if this product was around when they were ill, they would have certainly used it,” he said. “That is what got me started. I like the idea of bringing comfort to those in need.”

Only 20 licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries were awarded in the state, two of them in Essex County. Alternative Therapies Group received a license to open on Grove Street in Salem. Unlike Ipswich Pharmaceutical’s plan, the Salem dispensary will get its marijuana from an outside facility, likely in Amesbury. A dispensary was also OK’d in Haverhill.

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