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MA: Pot Business Turns Eyes To Salem

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
A medicinal marijuana business denied a license in Gloucester is one of two in talks with Salem leaders about opening up facilities there.

Boston-based Mayflower Medicinals is looking at 151 Canal St., the site of the defunct Wicked Cup shop, as a potential medical marijuana dispensary, Salem Ward 5 City Councilor Josh Turiel said.

A second, unnamed company is eyeing the old Richdale convenience store at 172 Lafayette St., across from Prime Gas, according to a recent email from the South Salem Neighborhood Association to its residents and group members.

Both are proposed in Turiel's ward.

Salem officials couldn't confirm the name of the second company looking to open in Salem.

Previously, Mayflower had proposed to open in Gloucester, in Blackburn Industrial Park, but the City Council rejected its application in January. Although councilors cited security and economic concerns as their primary reasons for denying Mayflower, Gloucester officials approved a different company, Happy Valley Ventures, to open in the same industrial park the month before. Gloucester has a zoning bylaw that prohibits two or more marijuana dispensaries from operating within 1,500 feet of each other.

Mayflower has since filed lawsuits against city councilors and Happy Valley Ventures, challenging both the council's approval of the Happy Valley application and the council's rejection of Mayflower's proposal.

Last Tuesday, Mayflower officials declined to confirm its tentative Salem location, but said they're eager to open in that city. Chief Operating Officer Jamie Lewis said the city's progressive attitudes, as well as the state's progressive laws, make Salem an ideal host community.

There's also a critical need for more dispensaries, Lewis said.

"There are a handful of dispensaries that are serving a large number of patients," she said, "and the more that open up, the more access patients can get to this product."

There are 10 dispensaries approved to sell medical marijuana statewide as of May 5, according to the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Those includes Alternative Therapies Group on Grove Street in Salem, which became the first dispensary to open in Massachusetts in June 2015, and Healthy Pharms, on East Main Street in Georgetown.

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