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August 27, 2013

A pot clinic near you?

Salem, Beverly eyed for medicinal marijuana dispensaries

A Newburyport businessman, a Swampscott healer and a Beverly area musician head up three of the 16 groups that filed applications with the state to open medical marijuana clinics in Essex County.

On Friday, the state Department of Public Health released the names of 181 groups vying for the 35 licenses the state can issue as a result of a new law approved by voters last November.

Nonprofits that get licenses will be registered to grow, process and dispense marijuana to patients.

Although it will be months before licenses are issued, nonprofit groups are already meeting with municipal officials and scoping out possible sites.

Medicinal Evolution, a nonprofit corporation, had proposed installing a state-registered medicinal marijuana dispensary in commercial office space on Kent’s Way in Newbury, but the plan hit a snag when the landlord announced he had no intention of leasing his property for this purpose.

The Newbury Planning Board is now contemplating placing a temporary moratorium on the installation of medical marijuana treatment and dispensary centers in town.

Medicinal Evolution also made a presentation in Georgetown last night on the possible installation of a medical marijuana cultivation center at an industrial building on Jackman Street. If approved, the cultivation center would grow, harvest and process the marijuana, which includes curing, drying and packaging the substance grown within the walls of the building.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said, “I’ve met with three groups that expressed an interest.” She said they all seemed “very serious.”

Officials in Beverly and Ipswich have held similar meetings.

Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt said he had “several calls” a few months ago but nothing recently. Even though it proved illegal, an attempt to ban dispensaries in Peabody may be the reason.

The state will screen this large applicant pool on a number of criteria, including financial viability and nonprofit status.

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