By John Lynds
The Lynn City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to grant a special permit to Mass Patient Foundation Inc. (MPF) to site a medical marijuana dispensary on the Lynnway. The Newton-based MPF Inc. was one of two medical marijuana dispensaries approved by the City Council earlier this year. MPF Inc. plans to open the dispensary at 487-491 Lynnway, an area along the city’s waterfront that was selected and rezoned by the Council as an overlay district that allows for medical marijuana dispensary use.
The vote comes with a proviso that MPF Inc. must ink a Host Community Agreement before it is officially granted the special permit to open shop.
Prior to the vote Attorney for MPF Inc., Sam Vitale, said he felt his clients have satisfied many of the requirements put forth by council members.
“We are one of two applicants selected (in the City of Lynn) and we are committed to going forward and begin the process of bringing the best quality operations for Lynn residents and residents in surrounding communities,” said Vitale. “Our petition describes how we conform to your (the council’s) requirements and we satisfy the criteria in the Lynn RFP. We will have tightly controlled security and surveillance and we are taking an building that is empty, didm;t blend with the surrounding area and giving it purpose.
Vitale said all cultivation for the dispensary will be done in Fitchburg and any home deliveries to Lynn patients would also generate from the Fitchburg grow facility and not the Lynnway dispensary.
However, some councilors expressed frustration that a Host Community Agreement, that was to be negotiated between MPF Inc. and the Mayor’s Office, has still not been completed.
Ward 10 Councilor Peter Capano, who represents the district where the dispensary will be sited, made the motion that if the council approves the special permit MPF Inc. must complete a satisfactory Host Community Agreement before the permit is issued.
“I’m thinking of the interests of the city and one of the benefits is having a satisfactory Host Community Agreement,” said Capano. Capano also listed several other items he’s like to see completed by MPF Inc. before the permit is officially issued like providing the council with the company’s security measures for the site, cope of the registration from the MassDPH, the company’s emergency procedures in the event of an emergency as well as MPF’s policies for sales and deliveries of medical marijuana.
Council President Dan Cahill thanked Capano for all his hard work on behalf of the residents in his district as the Council moved closer to siting a dispensary. However, like Capano, Cahill said he was frustrated that there was no Host Community Agreement.
“In this current fiscal situation we are talking of hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue,” said Cahill. “Ww’ve raised trash fees and voted on increasing the meals tax so we’ve done what we needed to do but here we are approving a special permit when we should be voting on a Host Community Agreement.”
Cahill laid the delay on a Host Community Agreement at the ‘threshold of the mayor’s feet’.
“The agreement is not out obligation but the Mayor’s,” said Cahill. “I wish we had something in place but it’s not–yet again.”
At Large Councilor Brian LaPierre said he called for representative from the Council to be part of the Host Community Agreement negotiations inside the Mayor’s Office.
“Here it is in mid July and it’s very frustrating,” said LaPierre. “We have made approvals and have done different things to balance the Mayor’s budget but when are we going to have a Host Community Agreement for medical marijuana? I know voting to allow for the special permit is putting carts before horses but maybe it will light a fire so we can start getting the necessary resources in the city that are dire.”