Pubdate: Fri, 28 Jun 2013
Source: Eagle-Tribune, The (MA)
Copyright: 2013 The Eagle-Tribune
Author: Jennifer Solis


Company Also Looking at Georgetown, Newburyport

NEWBURY -- A registered marijuana dispensary may soon be coming to a 
commercial complex located off Interstate 95 in Newbury.

Elizabeth Holland and Brandon Terricone of Medicinal Evolution -- a 
nonprofit corporation planning to apply for one of the licenses the 
state Department of Public Health will soon be issuing -- told 
selectmen this week they feel office space at 12 Kent Way is the 
ideal spot to run their business. The site is located near an already 
established fertility clinic and a self-storage facility in a spot 
that is centrally located for much of Essex County.

Selectmen discussed the plans briefly but will wait to weigh in until 
after the company has a chance to meet next month with the town 
administrator, Planning Board and law enforcement officials. But even 
before the plan was brought before town leaders, some residents were 
already objecting to it.

Under a new medicinal marijuana law adopted by Massachusetts voters 
last November, up to 35 dispensary licenses will be distributed to 
businesses around the state based on population, with at least one 
license issued per county.

In Essex County, 61 percent of voters approved of the Medical 
Marijuana ballot initiative last fall.

Holland, who is co-founder of a local biotech company, and Terricone, 
her nephew, have been pro-actively meeting with town leaders 
throughout Essex County to explore possible sites to locate their 
dispensary should the state issue them a license.

"Finding locations that we feel are appropriate has been extremely 
difficult and we feel that the option we presented in Newbury is well 
suited for both our needs and the town," Terricone said following 
Tuesday's meeting. The business partners also met recently with 
Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday to explore a possible site in the 
city's industrial park and they are in talks with Georgetown 
officials about installing a cannabis cultivation center in that town 
where the plants will be grown.

The plan is to offer "top quality, organic medical grade cannabinoid 
medicaments" within a small, secure office space accessible only to 
patients with state-issued medical marijuana cards and guarded by a 
"casino grade security" team, Terricone said. The facility will offer 
a "clean, professional, welcoming atmosphere" and fully comply with 
Massachusetts's regulations, seen as some of the strictest in the 
country when it comes to medicinal cannabis, he said.

He noted that one of the more common misconceptions about these types 
of dispensaries is that users will go to a facility just as a way to 
obtain the drug legally. But at Medicinal Evolutions "there will be 
absolutely no consumption on site and no loitering of any kind around 
our facility." The firm will have drug counselors on hand to advise 
on usage and, when medically indicated, will promote use of 
vaporizers, edibles and other non-combustion delivery options.

"This will not be a tie-dye, hippie-style business," stressed 
Tarricone. He anticipates that the vast majority of his clients will 
be middle-aged people or older folks with debilitating diseases such 
as cancer, multiple sclerosis or Crohn's disease who seek an 
alternative to addictive pharmaceutical painkillers like oxycontin or morphine.

"Cannabis has been proven to treat symptoms of many serious diseases; 
and if a sick patient is helped through the use of a natural plant, 
they should have safe access to quality products," he said. "We 
constantly hear that cannabis gives them a way to live their life 
normally again, without the side-effects of these heavily addicting drugs."

Medicinal Evolution plans to donate a percentage of its revenue to 
local nonprofits and for discounts for low-income patients.

But in an email to selectmen dated June 25, residents Melanie and 
John Horne "strongly" opposed the idea, saying it would brand the 
town "solely as the location for a marijuana facility" and negatively 
impact property values. George and Joan Morse and Paul Piraino also 
issued written objections.

The two business partners acknowledged this is "new and sensitive" 
territory for the community. While they are not legally required to 
do so, Holland and Terricone repeatedly stressed that they want to 
address any concerns head on and would ideally like approval from 
town leaders for the site they have chosen.

"In order to make it work properly for everyone, we want to 
communicate with our community aE& The stakes are too high for both 
the patients in need and for our nonprofit business to get off the 
ground," Terricone said.

The licensing process is heavily regulated and expensive -- it will 
cost Medicinal Evolution $30,000 to apply for a license and another 
$50,000 annually to maintain it.

"Like most things, we know there will always be some opposition, but 
we believe that most people's fears will be subdued after they have a 
realistic understanding of what our business will actually be like. 
After all, 69 percent of Newbury supported the law and we want people 
to know we will be doing this right," said Terricone.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom