A case of sour grapes

Lynnway Sportscenter. (Owen O'Rourke)

It’s hard to muster sympathy for Paul Crowley’s lawsuit alleging the City Council exceeded its authority in July by selecting two medical marijuana companies to open on the Lynnway and Western Avenue.

Crowley wanted to make money off the medical marijuana business. He submitted an application last year to have East Boston-based New England Patient Network operate a medicinal pot clinic in his Lynnway Sportscenter at 497 Lynnway.

One of the two sites for a future clinic is the 487-491 Lynnway site of Cooper-Lewis Inc. As anyone who drives the congested road with a somewhat observant eye knows, Cooper-Lewis is next to Lynnway Sportscenter.

In his lawsuit, Crowley isn’t saying his proposal was better than the two proposals selected by the council. In fact, he already had the opportunity to highlight the merits of his pot plan when he submitted it last year.

The argument Crowley and his attorney are making is a procedural one: They argue the council failed to provide notice of last summer’s public hearing relative to the proposals and the council “lacked authority to grant a special permit.”

It should be noted that Crowley is no stranger to the council or its procedures. He is a former councilor at large who applied for permission to use his property as a medicinal marijuana site with the knowledge and understanding of the way the council does business.

Crowley also operates Greater Lynn Senior Services and his status as executive director brings him in close contact with city employees and elected officials. Any notion that an “arbitrary and capricious” council left him out in the cold once the medical marijuana sites got picked is — to borrow a line from the lawsuit — “unwarranted by the facts.”

Not to state the obvious but he is also someone well acquainted with the councilors who reviewed and voted on the medical marijuana applications. Crowley was on the losing end of that application process, but it is hard to imagine any scenario that resulted in him getting the short end of the stick.

Let’s be realistic. Crowley knew the rules going into the game. Furthermore, his family has enjoyed years operating a popular Lynnway business. There is no guarantee that making the jump from candlepin bowling to providing a location for a business selling pot to sick people was going to be a sure thing.

Paul Crowley should save himself and the city money spent on lawyers and use any expertise he can muster as a former elected official and nonprofit executive to help the city address complications and challenges that crop up once medicinal marijuana — followed by recreational marijuana — become part of the city’s landscape.

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