MALDEN — A decision is expected soon on whether a medical marijuana dispensary should be located on Route 99 at the Melrose-Malden city line.
Proponents say the proposed shop could see $10 million in annual sales due to its easy accessibility from points in greater Boston, the North Shore and the city of Boston.
The site in consideration is miles away from downtown Melrose and the wide majority of residential areas of the city but just yards from the Malden city limits and also nearby Saugus in the nearly exclusively commercial Route 99.
Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan, in an online report, confirmed city officials are in the home stretch of negotiations with a number of potential medical marijuana dispensary operators, whom he indicated have long eyed the Route 99 area.
In Malden and Medford, both communities were almost identical with the statewide percentage in approval a statewide ballot question on recreational marijuana in 2016. Malden voters passed the question locally 54 percent to 46 percent. In Medford, the approval margin was higher: 58-42 percent. Melrose also backed the ballot question 55-45 percent.
Dolan has formed a Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee to choose a dispensary and then make suggestions for municipal decisions related to operations at the site. He indicated that with the annual sales forecast, revenue from payments from a future dispensary to the city of Melrose could potentially range from $300,000 to $500,000, in accordance with a 3 percent cap on payments to a municipality established by the state legislature.
Dolan said Melrose will continue opposing recreational marijuana sales.
Malden city officials have discussed possibilities, probabilities and opinions on both medical and recreational marijuana for much of the past 18 months. They have stayed exclusively in the discussion and conceptual stages. Zoning issues and potential moratoriums on medical marijuana sales, recreational marijuana sales, or both have also been floated at the City Council level, but no formal votes or actions have been taken.