Business, News

Lynn building owners looking to grow marijuana at their site

LYNN — The owners of a Linden Street building were getting so much interest from companies looking to grow marijuana at their site that they decided to propose their own cultivation business.

Jarrod R. Falite and Raymond S. Falite, founding partners of Bostica, LLC, have proposed opening a marijuana cultivation and manufacturing business at 71 Linden St., known to some residents as the former Harvard Folding Box Company building.

The Falite family owns the 118,000 square-foot warehouse building, which contains approximately 20 businesses and is the training ground for the Boston Roller Derby league.

The cultivation site, if approved by the City Council, would occupy approximately 35,000 square feet of the building. There would be no retail component and the site would be strictly to grow and manufacture marijuana.

James Smith, a founding partner at the Boston-based Smith, Costello & Crawford and the company’s attorney, said the Falites became interested in opening a cultivation site after getting numerous phones calls from cultivators who wanted to lease their space.

“They just said, we’ll do it ourselves,” Smith said. “The city is very accommodating. It’s a good place to do business. Taxes on cultivation based on state law is higher than any other use the city has, (so) this would be very (beneficial) for the city.”

A neighborhood meeting was held for the proposed cultivation site last week. Ward 7 Councilor Jay Walsh, who represents the area, said there was no opposition at the meeting, but only four neighbors attended.

“I think it would be a good fit (with) low impact to the neighborhood,” Walsh said. “The concern I had with it was any smell that may come from the facility, but I’ve been ensured by both the owner and other people visiting the facility that there’s not going to be any smell.”

If there was any odor emitted to the neighborhood from the facility, Walsh said the city would be able to pull their potential license.

Smith said odor is one of the biggest points of contention with proposed cultivation sites, but he claims there won’t be any smell. The air that is emitted outside will go through a series of carbon filters and the company’s largest investment for the facility is for a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to ensure the air is pure.

“We need pure air to grow successfully anyway,” Smith said. “This space, because of the necessity of the air pressure, will be sealed off from the rest of the building.”

The next step is for the company to appear before the Recreational Site Plan Review Committee of the City Council. If given the green light, the company would apply for its special permit, which would have to be approved by the City Council.

It’s unclear when the company would appear before either panel, but Smith expected the first meeting to be sometime next month. Bostica would also need approval from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

“These things can go a long time at the state level,” Smith said. “We want to move on this quickly to try to get open in a year.”

If approved by the council, Bostica would need to sign a host agreement with the city, which would outline what percentage of annual gross profits the city would receive from the facility.

According to James Lamanna, the city’s attorney, the state statute is silent as to the amount municipalities receive from marijuana cultivators. Any amount received by the city would have to reasonably relate to negative effects expected to be caused by the facility.

There have been no cultivation sites approved in Lynn. Another company, Wicked Frosty Farms, proposed opening one on Bennett Street this past fall, but has yet to appear before the Recreational Site Plan Review Committee.

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