NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 13, 2013

Pot farm seeks local support

AMESBURY — Faced with mounting opposition from city officials and local residents, a Newburyport-based medical marijuana company seeking to move into Amesbury is speaking out in hopes of clearing up some of the negative perceptions that have been circulating around town.

Alternative Therapies Group, Inc., one of two companies seeking licenses to open medical marijuana cultivation facilities in town, posted an open letter to the people of Amesbury on its website this week to lay out its intentions and ask supportive residents to contact their city councilors.

ATG’s plan to build a marijuana growing facility in Amesbury has become a hot political issue. Last month the majority of city councilors rejected an effort by Council President Anne Ferguson and Councilor Robert Lavoie to endorse a letter to the state stating the city had no opposition to the plan. Days later, outgoing Mayor Thatcher Kezer filed his own letter stating no opposition, without informing councilors. That move drew some criticism from councilors who had voted against Ferguson’s letter.

On its webpage, ATG reiterated its position that if it receives a medical marijuana license from the state Department of Public Health next year, its facility in Amesbury will be used only for cultivation and processing and will comply with all regulations laid out by the state and local authorities. It plans to open a sales location in Salem.

The letter also addresses the proposed moratorium on medical marijuana development, which is expected to be voted on by the City Council before the end of the year, and if approved, would halt any medical marijuana development for three months.

“Neither ATG nor anyone else is proposing to dispense medical marijuana in Amesbury,” the letter reads. “Amesbury’s current zoning laws have adequately provided regulations for siting of light manufacturing and agricultural uses for many years. Cultivating and processing of medical marijuana fit appropriately within these current regulations.”

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