NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 27, 2013

A pot clinic near you?

Salem, Beverly eyed for medicinal marijuana dispensaries

(Continued)

This preliminary review is expected to be completed by next month after which a Phase 2 list will be announced. Those candidates will be scrutinized on such factors as local support, appropriateness of the site and the applicant’s ability to meet the overall health needs of patients.

“Right now, we’re pushing the pause button until the state vets all of the candidates,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll said she has met with three groups, including North Shore Progressive Health, which is headed by Lynne McCarren of Swampscott, who described herself as a certified energetic healer.

“We’ve taken cues from the mayor’s office,” said McCarren, 40. “She was very clear about staying clear of residential areas.”

A Salem city ordinance limits the clinics to business or industrial districts, and then only by a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

McCarren said she is looking at a site off Swampscott Road.

Christopher Edwards, 38, an entrepreneur who heads Alternative Therapies Group out of Newburyport, said he is looking at the “technology park area” in Salem, which is also off Swampscott Road.

Although Peabody and other communities attempted to ban medical marijuana clinics, Attorney General Martha Coakley ruled in March that such bans are illegal.

Some communities have declared moratoriums while they explore the issue. Danvers, for example, has a moratorium in place until spring.

Ipswich officials plan to submit an article to the October Town Meeting that would limit the clinics to certain zoning districts along Route 1. The Ipswich Planning Board has already held a hearing on the proposed bylaw. At the meeting, a local man who lost family members to cancer said he wants to open a clinic in the town.

A lot of communities, like Peabody and Beverly, have no regulations in place. Even so, Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon said he has met with a few interested parties.

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