SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 8, 2014

A closer look at Alternative Therapies

Documents shine light on medical marijuana operation

SALEM — Documents submitted to the state by Alternative Therapies provide a glimpse at the medical marijuana operation it hopes to run soon from a dispensary on Grove Street.

The nonprofit was awarded a provisional license by the Department of Public Health last week after a stringent application process that rejected 80 percent of applicants in the second phase of the process. At the same time it announced the winners, the state divulged their application materials.

The marijuana will be grown under 600-watt sodium lights inside a 19,200-square-foot facility in Amesbury by a team led by a University of New Hampshire biology graduate who has spent the past four years directing cultivation at a similar site in Maine. Each plant’s growth will be tracked by computer software.

After it has been grown and cut, the marijuana will be tested for bacteria, mold and heavy metals, in addition to its potential medicinal benefits. Any plant that doesn’t make the grade will be ground down and mixed with a material like paper, plastic or cardboard, then sent to a solid waste facility.

Much of the marijuana will be sold as is, but some of it will be converted into products such as tinctures or baked goods like cookies, chocolates or granola bars, all made with marijuana-infused butter. The goods will be packaged in child-proof, opaque containers devoid of any images except the dispensary’s logo, which does not resemble marijuana or related paraphernalia.

From Amesbury, the products will be brought to the dispensary in Salem by professional guards in an unmarked van with a security compartment, or directly to the patient via a home-delivery program.

The proposed dispensary location is the ground floor of a three-story brick building at 50 Grove St., just down from the Moose lodge. It will feature a pharmacy, waiting room, patient meeting rooms and office space, as well as areas dedicated to security. It will be marked outside by a single 14-by-16-inch non-illuminated sign.

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