Retail pot proponents question approval process

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Candidates who will move forward in the permitting/licensing process for retail adult use marijuana: 

  • Green Leaf Health—91 George Leven Drive
  • Hope Heal Health—6 Whipple St.
  • Pure Roots—80 East Washington St.
  • True Nature—760 East Washington St.
  • Holland Brands—1320 South Washington St.
  • Trichome 23-31 Chestnut St.

Candidates who will not move forward in the permitting/licensing process:

  • Solurge—551A South Washington St.
  • Cannabiniers—100 East Washington St.
  • Royal Green Canna—365 East Washington St.
  • Elevation Naturals—575 East Washington St.
  • Emerald Green—563 South Washington St.
  • Green Tree House—81 John Dietsch Blvd.
  • Liberty—404 East Washington St.

Potential marijuana store owners whose applications were rejected are requesting that the approval process be started over.

Josh DeSousa, who represents Green Treehouse and Attorney David Manoogian, speaking for Elevation Naturals, both addressed the Board of Selectmen at its June 20 meeting. They had recently been informed that their applications for a retail marijuana license had been rejected. 

Manoogian said he had been told that his clients would get to meet with the review board that would decide which of the 13 applicants would be offered licenses. However, he said that meeting never occurred. He added that the decision had occurred “behind closed doors,” and that these licenses were no less important than one issued for a liquor store or car dealership. Those licenses are approved by the board at their regular meetings.

“I’m simply saying that under the doctrines of procedural due process, once you publish a criteria, you need to follow it, and this was not done,” he said.

In November 2016 residents voted to legalize adult use of marijuana in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by a vote of 8,230 to 6,953. In October 2018 approved three articles at Town Meeting related to businesses selling marijuana for adult use. Town Planner Nancy Runkle said representatives of many town boards and departments met for six months to decide on locations and opted for the Route 1 Corridor and the town’s industrial park. Up to six licenses can be issued. A license would be granted by the Board of Selectmen, and the Board of Health would also grant a permit. The Planning Board would review the site plan.

DeSousa’s application was for a store at 81 John Dietsch Blvd., which he said was denied due to the location being in an industrial zone and that commercial entities were not allowed. He asked if such a use was not allowed, why their application was accepted in the first place. 

DeSousa added that there had been petitions from multiple parties, and that he felt all concerns had been addressed, though there had been no way to communicate this to the town. He had been informed of the decision via e-mail. 

“What is the process for appealing these decisions?” DeSousa asked. “I urge that we reset the process.”