Marijuana Dispensary Site Plan approved

by beth on September 30, 2016

Post image for Marijuana Dispensary Site Plan approved

Above: CommCan has the go ahead for plans to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Route 9 in Southborough. (image right from Google maps)

The Planning Board voted to approve the Site Plan for CommCan’s medical marijuana dispensary at 255 Turnpike Road.

The approval happened on Monday night. It’s just one of the things I haven’t had time to properly cover this week. Fortunately, Southborough Wicked Local did.

According to their story, the final plans include a secure garage for delivery of marijuana. The ATM cash machine that was plans for their lobby has been scrapped for now. The final plans met with police chief Kenneth Paulhus’ approval.

SWL writes:

“I am happy to say they went above and beyond the state Department of Health’s requirement,” [Paulhus] said. “From a safety aspect and this building I think we’re ready to move forward.”

Of course, residents who object to the Town’s allowance of the facility again, unsuccessfully tried to convince the Planning Board to reject the plan: 

Several residents argued the dispensary violates federal law because it’s within 1,000 feet of a school.

Planning Board Chairman Don Morris said the board is charged with reviewing the plans, not deciding whether a dispensary is allowed.

Marc Rosenfeld, CEO of CommCan, said the residents are referencing a federal guidelines for sentencing “street corner drug dealers.”

“It’s totally inappropriate,” he said. “We’ve satisfied this through state and through town law.”

The Board voted unanimously to approve the plan with conditions (and revisions that had been made based on feedback in earlier hearings.)

For the full story, click here.

1 Safdar Medina October 2, 2016 at 6:53 PM

So much information has been shared with our town boards about this issue. The number of people who hold medical marijuana cards is increasing exponentially. (Department of Public Health Data). The “doctors” who are issuing these cards are doing so, without examining patients and verifying histories, and without follow-up. Two have been disciplined already. Furthermore, medical marijuana is being diverted to teens. And with edibles being sold, it opens up a whole new way of targeting youth.

If ballot question 4 passes we could be looking at marijuana being sold recreationally as well. “Existing medical stores have right to enter recreational market at existing locations; any local ordinance can be invalidated if it is deemed unreasonably impracticable.”

2 Resident October 4, 2016 at 9:54 AM

Should we refuse all future liquor licenses, too? People need to educate themselves on medical marijuana. Not everyone is trying to get high. CBD doesn’t have the effects THC has, and has an absolutely positive effect for many sick people. We have an opioid epidemic going on – many doctors are HUGE pill pushers when a little CBD could do wonders.

3 Safdar Medina October 4, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Yes, there are uses for medical marijuana. A patch, that is prescribed by a pain specialist who monitors a patient is appropriate. That is not what we have in Massachusetts right now. We have a situation where anyone can get a medical card and use marijuana however they want without medical and/or psychiatric follow-up. As far as the opioid epidemic, marijuana is a gateway drug, as teens who use it, are more likely to suffer from opioid addiction. Making it more accessible will only worsen our opioid epidemic. And yes, we should absolutely hold doctors and dentists who indiscriminately prescribe pain medicine accountable.

4 Kate October 4, 2016 at 11:13 PM

@Sadfar; From “Though studies of large populations of people have indeed found that those who smoke marijuana are more likely to use other drugs, these studies show a correlation without showing causation — a commonly misunderstood phenomenon in science. In short, just because marijuana smokers might be more likely to later use, say, cocaine, does not imply that using marijuana causes one to use cocaine.
A 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, laid out this issue clearly (see pages 100-101): “In the sense that marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation into the use of other illicit drugs, it is indeed a gateway drug. However, it does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse; that is, care must be taken not to attribute cause to association.” So it seems far from clear, as you would have us believe, that marijuana is indeed a “gateway drug.” In short, correlation does not imply causation. Also, please cite your sources with regard to your assertion that “making marijuana more accessible will only worsen our opioid epidemic.”

5 Resident October 5, 2016 at 7:58 AM

Quotes and facts. Yes Kate!

6 Safdar Medina October 5, 2016 at 7:38 PM
“Probability and predictors of the cannabis gateway effect: A national study”
The results: “Lifetime cumulative probability estimates indicated that 44.7% of individuals with lifetime cannabis use progressed to other illicit drug use at some time in their lives. Several sociodemographic characteristics, internalizing and externalizing psychiatric disorders and indicators of substance use severity predicted progression from cannabis use to other illicit drugs use.”
And far as interviewing teens, I do this every day. I cannot share specifics, but suffice to say, I have heard on more than one occasion that marijuana edibles were available easily from those with “cards” and are shared. In my line of work, a negative story about marijuana is seen pretty much daily.
I have also been on the panel of many forums discussing the opioid epidemic. Marijuana is more often than not, the drug that starts the addiction process. I had a young adult who had suffered from opioid addiction speak to a group of middle schoolers, and his biggest regret was using marijuana. A mother spoke at a forum talking about her teen using marijuana and how this led to his opioid addiction. This is not published but it is happening all around us and those of us, like myself in the trenches see it everyday.
We all need to work together to protect our children.

7 Safdar Medina October 6, 2016 at 7:21 AM
8 louise barron October 2, 2016 at 7:52 PM

Now that we have a dope den here, when is the Foxy Lady coming here.

9 Resident October 5, 2016 at 7:59 AM

Dope den? This is not a house full of drug using squatters.

10 louise barron October 6, 2016 at 1:04 PM

Who said they’re not. Sit down

11 Resident October 7, 2016 at 9:47 AM

I’m saying they’re not because this facility doesn’t even exist in our town yet. It’s a regulated business. Not an abandoned house. And I’m sitting, thanks.

12 Kate October 2, 2016 at 11:47 PM

Safdar; with all due respect, the word “scaremongering” comes to mind.

13 Safdar Medina October 3, 2016 at 8:50 PM

With all due respect, I have shared facts only. The information about how medical marijuana cards are handed out and the two doctors who were disciplined is well known. (You can look up them up and what they did). As far as diversion to youth, it is happening all around us. Teens have been interviewed and have admitted to using marijuana that someone with a “card” gave them. Edibles will be sold in this dispensary in various forms and an marijuana containing brownie is indistinguishable from one without. Edible brownies are handed out in high schools. My only concern for discussing this issue is the protection of our youth.
The last quote in my comment is from the Ballot Question itself.

14 Kate October 4, 2016 at 11:18 PM

Which teens? Are you implying that somebody is handing out “marijuana containing” brownies at Algonquin? Has anyone actually interviewed local high schoolers about these assertions?

15 Kate October 8, 2016 at 1:04 AM

My three children all attended Algonquin. They have told me that during their time there they and their friends avoided one particular bathroom which always reeked of marijuana. The kids who want to smoke have no problem finding a supply.

16 Ron October 3, 2016 at 2:37 AM

I couldn’t agree more with Safdar. Now we are looking at the possibility of recreational marijuana being sold in a town that is so small we don’t even have a grocery store. This makes no sense at all.

17 Kate October 3, 2016 at 2:56 PM

In what way does it not make sense? Please share what you’ve learned (facts please) about the attempt to sell “recreational marijuana” in Southborough. I’m sure residents would be interested.

18 Vern October 3, 2016 at 9:35 PM

“Under the ballot question going before Massachusetts voters this November, organizations that run medical marijuana dispensaries or previously applied for a dispensary license would get the first opportunity to apply to run a commercial pot shop. The ballot question also includes a provision allowing for a licensed organization to operate medical and commercial marijuana businesses at a shared location.”

“State Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Health and the Special Senate Committee on Marijuana, said the language in the ballot question and the ties between medical marijuana and commercial marijuana interests raise concerns.

“One of the problems is essentially this give-away to the medical marijuana industry,” Lewis said. “Cities and towns that have gone through the process of approving the siting of a medical marijuana facility in their community have never envisioned this as a location where recreational sales of marijuana could be taking place. They did it with an understanding that patients with legitimate medical conditions would come to get medication. They didn’t envision that a person who wants to smoke or vape or dab to get high would come there.”

Former Department of Public Health staffer Dan Delaney, a Boston lobbyist who represents Patriot Care and other medical marijuana organizations, is working independently to oppose the ballot initiative. Delaney said his lobbying clients aren’t connected to that effort.

“I’m agnostic on whether recreational adult use is a good thing or not, but I find this specific ballot measure an awful piece of legislation,” he said. “It ties the hands of cities and towns. It doesn’t allow them to have a hand in zoning, so anyplace zoned for medical marijuana is automatically zoned for recreational.”

19 Concerned resident October 4, 2016 at 8:19 AM

This is an important point. If you want control of what happens in our town vote against this ballot question as written with little control of the location of a facility selling recreational marijuana in each city or town.

20 mike fuce October 3, 2016 at 9:35 AM

Safdar, you are absolutely correct. If asked they say sure if you think you need it. I asked just to see. THC is a very bad drug folks. But then we are in a post civilized society as well in the US.

21 Kate October 3, 2016 at 2:57 PM

Links, please, Mike. Thanks in advance.

22 Forrest October 3, 2016 at 6:21 PM

I think that this new plan is actually a positive move for our town and our state. Medical marijuana has real health benefits and if recreational marijuana happens to pass in the state, facilities like this will eventually be more common. The tax revenue will help the town, but more importantly, this facility would provide a clean and safe resource for legal medical marijuana users. We all should respect an individual’s right to choose their legal medicine.

23 Safdar Medina October 3, 2016 at 8:57 PM

Medical use of marijuana has been studied and in some forms, has medical benefits. The majority of medical marijuana cardholders are not being followed by any physician and do not have diagnoses for which there is proven medical benefit.
Recreational marijuana has done nothing positive for Colorado. It has led to increases in impaired driving, increases in drug use (all drugs) by teens, and an increase in emergency department visits due to ingestions by young children.
Recreational marijuana will only be taxed between 10-12% in Massachusetts. (It is 30% in Colorado)

24 louise barron October 3, 2016 at 10:18 PM

Bologna It brings in an ilk of the lowest caliber. The scum who killed State Trooper Clardy last March was high on grass from the dope dispensary in Brookline. THC is dangerous. We have enough problems with DUI’s, opioids. Now let’s add another addictive drug to the mix. Money is not more important than having a safe environment. When is the strip club coming. The leaders and citizens of Southborough should be ashamed. I am.

25 Forrest Musselman October 6, 2016 at 4:25 PM

Last names please, not looking to get my semi-unique name for a small attached to pro-THC laws. Thanks,

26 Mike Fuce October 4, 2016 at 12:18 PM

We don’t want to here period. We don’t agree that legalize THC out on the street even if they sell it under th guise of medical marijuana. What’s the time when we vote on it?

27 Mike Fuce October 4, 2016 at 12:20 PM

You asked so I’ll say yes liquor should not be legal. It’s a drug it ruins people it ruins lives in families, it kills people and so do drugs and marijuana

28 Mike Fuce October 4, 2016 at 12:24 PM

That’s funny Louise, that’s what my dad used to call it, dope, because dopes use it.

29 D. McGee October 5, 2016 at 8:17 AM

Do dopes drink liquor, which is far more dangerous a drug and which causes far more automobile deaths every year?

30 Disappointing October 5, 2016 at 10:51 PM

I’m disappointed reading so much commentary from people trying to regulate everyone else’s lives. Please folks, do what is best for your family and your children, but stop preventing others from access.

I think everyone involved in the blog reply’s, the town meeting vote change, Clifford Rd. and this anti-campaign are extremely selfish. I applaud you for doing what you think is best to protect your community and your kids, but I wish all of you would realize how much you’re depriving others from something they need or want to help with a variety of ailments.

I’ve chosen to talk to my children about this issue. I feel awfully confident they are smart enough to understand the deal and make their own best decisions when presented with marijuana when they become exposed to it. Doesn’t matter if its legal or not, they will. So why not just bring it above ground? Talk about the facts, educate without the expense to someone else who really needs it. I think this entire community has gone to hell in a hand basket at its attitude they they think what they believe should be applied to everyone. Get over yourself and spend time with your kids. It’s a major state highway. Not everything will be perfect. I can’t believe I am saying this, but the Selectmen did the right thing. Its a rare highlight!

I wish all of these people who are so threatened by this business, your time and energy (which is great!) should be channeled toward this problem below, which is actually a problem in this community and has been well documented. We all know there are other factors that contribute toward addiction, but the threat to your children is right in front of us. From today’s newspaper:

BOSTON – Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel offered a sobering story at the first meeting of a special commission looking to reverse the state’s opioid crisis.

Bharel, a doctor who studied drug-related deaths earlier in her career, told of a conversation she had with a mother whose teen child died from a prescription overdose.

“I was really taken aback when she opened by saying ‘My son’s first drug dealer was his doctor,’” said Bharel.

31 Safdar Medina October 6, 2016 at 7:05 PM

Please read my links and comments above. There is no selfishness involved in my opposition to this dispensary, just concern for our children. I am on the Worcester County DA’s opioid task force. Yes, doctors and dentists have to stop handing out opioids. But there is another gateway to using heroin, and that is marijuana. Every person who works with teens agrees on this fact. We can’t deny this fact. Yes, we all talk to our children and hope they make the good choices. Marijuana is harmful itself, (links above) and leads to use of other drugs. We are now regulating opioid prescriptions, but not regulating marijuana. Ballot question 4, if passed, will provide even more access. People will be able to grow it at home and distribute it freely.

32 Kate October 8, 2016 at 12:57 AM

Safdar; I truly appreciate your passion and your concern for our youth. There are all sorts of reasons why individuals become addicted to drugs, and I’m sure you’ve read the literature describing the prevalence of alcohol and tobacco usage by those who end up as substance abusers (studies show that there is a correlation between the use of these substances and “… the use of other drugs”). Your reference to medical professionals handing out opiates is important – there is a long history associated with the prescribing of opiates which is quite illuminating. Your focus is on marijuana, but an argument could be made for focusing instead on attacking the groupthink mentality so common during adolescence. If children are lucky enough to live in a stable household, with adequate nutrition and parents who are tuned in to their needs, and who encourage them to develop strong critical thinking skills, then hopefully they will be able to withstand the “go along with the crowd” outlook.

33 SB Resident October 6, 2016 at 12:35 PM

Whether this dispensary exists or not will not prevent one single person from having access. If medical marijuana had anything to do with actual medicine, then we would have chosen to distribute it like we do every other medicine, through pharmacies, where we already have regulations, controls and security etc. in place to handle all the relevant concerns that there are. So no, no one here is trying to regulate anyone’s life, we are trying to regulate a new industry in a way that is most beneficial for all.

34 Vern October 6, 2016 at 4:38 PM

Well said. Thank you!

35 louise barron October 6, 2016 at 1:03 PM

Folks, belly up to the bar and use your full names. Initials, how lily livered are you. Say it, own it. “Regulate a new industry that is beneficial to all”. Do you have your head in a hole. Alcohol and opioids have controls and security. What world do you live in.

36 D. McGee October 6, 2016 at 2:35 PM

Talk about having your head in a hole…you really think that as a result of this dispensary, there will all of a sudden be rampant pot use in Southboro? There already is!!! Your kids probably use it!!

What world do YOU live in?

37 louise barron October 6, 2016 at 4:55 PM

D. McGee I live in a country that used to have a clear and defined conception that education, right and wrong, ethics and morals meant something. I’m very well aware of the drug problem in this country, going all the way back to Nancy Reagan “just say no to drugs”, and our local Dare program. It hasn’t worked, based on your statement that there already is “rampant pot use”. Let’s then make it real convenient for our children to get wasted. Good idea. The powers that be made an enormous mistake with this decision. Time will tell. Just think of State Trooper Clardy and his 7 kids.

38 Resident October 7, 2016 at 9:53 AM

It will be no easier than kids getting alcohol. Not saying I want underage kids drinking or accessing marijuana, but this dispensary is not going to be a catalyst for some big weed movement. Like others have said, they’re already getting it and probably in not the safest way. Not knowing what else could be in it. Regulate it, tax it, it’s 2016.

39 Kate October 8, 2016 at 2:39 PM

You said it perfectly, Resident. Short, sweet and to the point.

40 SB Resident October 6, 2016 at 2:56 PM

Why? so people can retaliate against those whose views are different than theirs??? That is the only reason a name would be relevant, so yes, I’m very lily livered, and I have no problem with that. I live in this community and that is all that is relevant.

The weird part is I think we’re on the same side of this issue.

41 louise barron October 6, 2016 at 4:56 PM

Retaliate against what. Your opinion?????????? OMG.

42 sue adams, RN October 7, 2016 at 12:17 PM

Yes Louise, we live in a country that retaliates against people with different beliefs, different color skin, different hair color etc. what country do you live in?

43 louise barron October 6, 2016 at 1:07 PM

Use variance is next. Committees have tooooo much control in this town. Government has too much of a stranglehold on the citizens. We need to take our town back.

44 Mike Fuce October 6, 2016 at 9:16 PM

Excellent, excellent closing statement Madina Safdar. You covered all the bases. But I’m afraid liberals do not want to hear reason with integrity and intelligence. They just want to smoke there dope , be sedated, and I have others be allowed to do their dopey thing as well.

45 Resident October 7, 2016 at 9:55 AM

You do realize that it’s not just liberals that are pro medical marijuana, correct?

46 Kate October 8, 2016 at 12:30 AM

Mike; I never cease to find your comments amusing (even if your rhetoric undermines your credibility).

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