As for why Salem itself, Edwards said the city was “ground zero to a large percentage of the south Essex County population” and that Alternative Therapies had “wanted to find a good fit with a municipality in terms of philosophy.”
“It’s a progressive leadership; they understand the intent of the law that was passed, and they intend to take a lead position on this relative to some of their neighbors,” he said. “They were very willing to work with us.”
Edwards said he’d been in touch with local police, city councilors and Mayor Kim Driscoll’s office, which supplied “letters of non-opposition” to both Alternative Therapies and Good Chemistry for their phase two applications.
Alternative Therapies has a list of backup locations in Salem should the first choice not work out.
Marijuana dispensed by the nonprofit would actually be grown at a facility in Amesbury.
Good Chemistry declined to comment for this article. In addition to Salem, it has submitted phase two applications to open dispensaries in Worcester and Boston.
Statewide, up to 35 dispensaries will receive licenses, with a maximum of five per county and a minimum of one. Seven nonprofits are currently vying to open locations in Essex County — including two in Beverly and one in Ipswich.
Fewer than half the county’s applicants who were eligible to apply for phase two actually did so, likely in part because of the state’s stringent financial requirements. The fee for the second-phase applicants was $30,000, whereas the fee for the first was $1,500.
The state also required each applicant show it had $500,000 in cash for the first dispensary it hoped to open and $400,000 for each additional one.
Neil Dempsey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.