Medical Marijuana Dispensary Turned Down In Ashland

ASHLAND – After months of discussion, selectmen on Wednesday voted 3-2 not to sign a letter of non-opposition for medical marijuana dispensary Trichome, effectively ending the company’s plans to open in town.

“This was a tough decision, it took me a lot of time,” Selectman Yolanda Greaves said Wednesday. “I was going back and forth. It was really just a few things that as I thought about it made me realize that it was not the right time for us to (sign a letter of non-opposition).”

Trichome Health Corp. CEO Alex Mazin needed the letter from selectmen, as well as a host community agreement with the town, to build his company’s third dispensary at 40 Pond St.

“I hope that none of you or your family members ever have to use a medical marijuana product, but your decision should have been made for those that do,” Mazin told selectmen Wednesday after the decision. “It is very disappointing.”

Chairman Robert Scherer and Vice Chairman Steven Mitchell voted in favor of signing the letter, while Joseph Magnani and Carl Hakansson joined Greaves in voting against it.

“I’m generally in favor of issuing this letter because … there are a number of hazards in this world, and to my mind a medical marijuana dispensary on Pond Street is not a significant hazard,” Scherer said.

The dispensary was expected to have many safeguards, he pointed out, and comply with strict state rules.

“I do see potential benefits, both for services and revenue in this town, and revenue is an important matter for things we want to do, good things we want to do in this town,” Scherer continued. “We put up with all sorts of potential hazards for the greater good, because they bring potential benefits.”

The proposed site on Pond Street currently contains a shack and is unused. If his dispensary was allowed to go forward, Mazin had told selectmen he would work with the town to develop the site into something that “fits the community.”

Under a host community agreement, not yet finalized, the company would have given Ashland a percentage of its profits for several years, as well as a lump sum of money. In the handful of public meetings since October, several supporters of the dispensary characterized local access to medical cannabis as a community asset.

Selectmen who were against the letter said they saw the financial benefit to the town, but worried potential harm could outweigh the benefits.

“I haven’t heard (any benefit) other than revenue, and that doesn’t work for me,” Hakansson said.

Greaves added that although Ashland banned adult-use marijuana from town, she worried that allowing a medical establishment would mean “that question will keep coming up.”

Those who voted against the letter also pointed to CommCan, a dispensary opening soon in Southborough, and said they expected Framingham to approve one as well.

But Mazin countered that “if you had to go to CVS in Southborough, you wouldn’t be happy. If you had to go to your liquor store in Southborough, you wouldn’t be happy. It would be an inconvenience.”

The decision came shortly after selectmen approved close to a cumulative month of one-day liquor licenses at the Corner Spot for events. The Corner Spot is an open-air public space and business incubator debuted last year, next to Town Hall.

“What jumped out to me about this agenda is the first (page or so) are one-day liquor licenses, which is fine, but where do we draw the line?” Hakansson asked. “We’re kind of becoming the one-day liquor license capital of the world.”

Hakansson was joined by Magnani is questioning the need for alcohol at public events. Selectmen said they may consider putting “parameters” on the number of Corner Spot events that request liquor licenses in the future.

Alison Bosma can be reached at 508-626-3957 or abosma@wickedlocal.com. Find her on Twitter at @AlisonBosma.

Source : http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20180712/medical-marijuana-dispensary-turned-down-in-ashland

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