Local Government and Politics, News

Recreational marijuana coming to the Lynnway

(Stock image)

LYNN — The city’s first recreational pot shop has been given the green light by the City Council to open on the Lynnway.

Newton-based Massachusetts Patient Foundation (MPF), which operates dispensaries in Oregon and Colorado, had its special permit for recreational sales approved on Tuesday night.

The council had approved the company’s special permit for medical marijuana sales last August. The medical marijuana facility would also be the city’s first.

“The Massachusetts Patient Foundation is a very responsible group and the city of Lynn has approached this in a very responsible and thoughtful manner and we’re looking forward to bringing the will of the voters forth in the city of Lynn and helping end the black market, and providing quality tested cannabis to the patients and consumers in Lynn,” said Valerio Romano, an attorney representing MPF.

MPF has signed a host agreement with the city to open a medical marijuana dispensary at the 4,631-square-foot Cooper-Lewis building at 487-491 Lynnway, which would also contain a recreational pot shop. The facility is expected to be open for medical patients next month, but it’s unclear when the recreational side of the business will open.

Under the host agreement, MPF will provide the city with 6 percent of annual gross revenues. The company was required to pay the city $100,000 upon the execution of the agreement.

But Shamarah Gibson, a Lynn resident, opposed bringing more drugs into the city, despite the legalization of marijuana in the state.

“I do oppose this dispensary coming into Lynn because of the widespread amount of drugs that are already here that are negative to the community and around our children,” Gibson said. “I don’t think that Lynn needs to draw any more negative crowds into our city by promoting such a dispensary here.

“I think we need to think more about our children and what kind of example we’re setting for them by allowing this into our city with the drug epidemic already being out of control here in Lynn.”

Calvin Anderson, a Lynn resident, spoke in favor of the recreational pot shop.

“I encourage adoption of this because the best recreational dispensaries should follow the law that has already been adhered to on the medical side,” Anderson said. “The only difference — it’s going to be the same product, but different names, and one side will be taxed and one won’t. But they still have all the considerations for security, retail and education and safety.”

Joseph Lekach, MPF’s cofounder, said in a previous interview with The Item that marijuana will be the same price for both adult use, or recreational, and medical customers, but the difference will be taxation. Adult use, or recreational customers are taxed at 20 percent, while medical customers are taxed at zero percent.

The company’s cultivation and processing site is in Fitchburg at the former Bayer pharmaceutical campus.

Medical users, who have to present a card issued by a doctor, will have access to the entire facility and there will be a separation for recreational customers. There are a separate set of regulations that come with the medical side of the building.

The council also approved another medical marijuana clinic in the city last year. Old World Remedies, a Marblehead company, plans to operate a shop on Western Avenue, but can’t open before it finds a place to grow the marijuana. The company also has intent for recreational shop at the site, according to city officials.

In 2016, the City Council approved a plan to bring two medical marijuana clinics to the city. Ward 6 City Councilor Peter Capano opposed limiting the two clinics to his ward, but the council voted to put them there.

As many as six recreational pot shops can open in the city, but can’t be near schools. Capano previously told The Item he didn’t like having recreational shops in his ward either, as “Ward 6 can’t be the marijuana capital of the city.”

In 2012, Massachusetts voters approved making marijuana legal for medical use and in 2016, pot for recreational use was approved at the polls.

 

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