SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 3, 2014

Pot firm eyes Essex growing site

ESSEX — A company that has gained approval for a medical marijuana dispensary in Newton has also obtained a state provisional license to set up a medical marijuana cultivation site here in town.

Garden Remedies is hoping to set up a cultivation site to grow marijuana for prescription use at a site off Western Avenue, or Route 22, near the Hamilton town line.

The town’s Board of Selectmen has already passed a resolution of non-opposition, according to Selectwoman Susan Gould Coviello. She added that the board is leaving it to the Planning Board to come up with a special permit process for allowing the company to set up shop.

Garden Remedies is also required to meet specific state regulations and guidelines to obtain a permanent license, Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki said.

Police Chief Peter Silva says he remains concerned about the idea of pot being grown in Essex and the security issues it raises.

“I think there’s many in the community that are not happy about this, nor am I, for a host of different reasons,” he said. “I just don’t know if the community is prepared for this type of thing.”

Silva said there’s a risk posed on the community with a facility of this type, and he doesn’t think the Western Avenue site would be the best location, either.

“I just think this is something that is brand-new to our state and to our community,” he said. “And I just think there are many things that are being rushed about this.”

If the facility does open, he said the town will do “what’s right and what’s lawful.”

The state Department of Health application process for handling both dispensaries and cultivation facilities follows the landslide 2012 state referendum to approve the legalization of marijuana for medicinal use. The petition carried all but two Massachusetts communities, and won “yes” votes in all four Cape Ann communities, including Essex.

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