Chris Edwards, a Newburyport entrepreneur who leads ATG, said Nov. 21 is the Phase 2 filing deadline for applicants seeking medical marijuana licenses. He said the letter of non-opposition would be helpful to demonstrate community support, but it’s not a requirement and his application will move forward whether the city acts or not.
“It’s important to have the support from the community, but the written demonstration in the form of a letter isn’t a requirement,” Edwards said. “There is a point-based system that the DPH will be using, and there are some points attached to having this letter, but in and of itself it’s not a requirement.”
Edwards reiterated that the facility would be specifically for manufacturing, and that all marijuana plants would be grown inside. He would not say where in Amesbury he wants to open his facility, but added that he is looking at multiple sites.
Besides a lack of information, the timing of the resolution was also an issue for some of the councilors. District 3 Councilor Donna McClure took issue with Ferguson’s attempt to call for a vote without a public hearing, implying that she was trying to sneak the issue past the public by not bringing it up until a week after the election and a week before the state deadline.
“The residents deserve to know and before we vote on any resolution that could bring a dramatic change in direction to our town,” McClure said after the meeting. “Clearly we need zoning protections. I do not want another strip club moment for Amesbury and I want the town to weigh in on a direction that could change the branding of Amesbury forever.”
Ferguson acknowledged that the election played a role in the timing of the request, but said ATG only approached her in early October once the campaign season was already well under way, and she didn’t have a chance to file her request until last week. She emphasized that she wasn’t trying to skirt the electorate.