A letter of non-opposition from Mayor Kim Driscoll praised them for being “proactive, transparent and approachable.”
That they offered the city a “host community fee” of $50,000 a year, unsolicited, certainly didn’t hurt, but so far, the process appears to have been open and above-board.
The contrast with what’s happening in other communities, including Amesbury, which will supply marijuana to the Salem clinic, is disturbing. This is a new landscape for Massachusetts residents, and although a majority supported medical marijuana in a referendum, many now find themselves uncomfortable with the idea of siting a clinic in their own neighborhoods. That wary Salem neighbors were favorably impressed after meeting directly with Alternative Therapies underscores the importance of dealing with these issues openly and directly.
Had Salem not attracted a company willing to go through that difficult and time-consuming process, and had city officials not taken such an early and active interest, the city could be in a much different position. Massachusetts’ much-praised, stringent regulatory system appears to have stumbled in other communities, and we can only hope their final licenses are not issued until every last question is answered.