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Wicked Frosty Farms backs off Lynn marijuana growth proposal after ward councilor’s opposition

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LYNN — A cultivator has withdrawn its proposal to grow marijuana on Bennett Street following opposition from the site’s ward councilor.

Blake Mensing, an attorney who represents the company, Wicked Frosty Farms, said the opposition from Ward 6 Councilor Fred Hogan was the “death knell” for their plans at the site.

Hogan said his opposition stemmed from supporting the residents of Ward 6, as a large number of them had told him they were not in favor of it being in their neighborhood. He said there were several concerns, including worries about security and the potential odor coming from the site.

“A lot of people who lived there for many years didn’t feel comfortable with it being right behind their houses,” Hogan said. “I’m going with the neighbors and residents of Ward 6, my constituents.”

Wicked Frosty Farms, a Massachusetts company, floated a proposal in September to open a small-scale recreational marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility at 69 Bennett St.

In order to operate, Perry Bailes, CEO and founder of Wicked Frosty Farms, said the company was pursuing a microbusiness license from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission and a special permit from the Lynn City Council.

But when Hogan, who represents the area where the facility would have been located, made it clear he opposed the plan, the company opted to not move forward and will not appear before the City Council.

“We are disappointed with the opposition from Ward 6,” Bailes said in an emailed statement. “However, we have a great deal of respect for the city, the residents of Ward 6 and the Ward 6 councilor. We want to be in a community where we are celebrated, versus being tolerated.”

James Lamanna, the city’s attorney, said there were concerns from city officials regarding the company’s finances. He said Wicked Frosty Farms was upfront that they were not in a position to give a significant percentage of their sales to the city as part of a potential host agreement.

Unlike host agreements marijuana retailers would sign with the city, which would require the company to provide 6 percent of its annual gross revenues, the state statute is silent on the amount municipalities receive from marijuana cultivators.

In addition, Lamanna said the company understood that if Hogan did not support the facility, it was unlikely the company could muster the eight votes needed from the City Council for the special permit.

City Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre said he would have opposed the proposal if Wicked Frosty Farms moved forward to appear before the council.

As councilor-at-large, he said he often defers to the respective ward councilor and decided to oppose the site based on Hogan’s opposition. His main concern was with potential odor from the site.

“A lot of my trepidation was that they could not guarantee it would be odorless,” LaPierre said. “I remain skeptical that a recreational marijuana facility that is cultivating … could be odorless. I’m going to have to smell that for myself when the time comes.”

A proposed marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility on Linden Street has gained more support from the city. Representatives from Bostica Inc. are expected to appear before the Recreational Site Plan Review Committee of the City Council next month.

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