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Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana dispensary applicants to court Deerfield board

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Two applicants competing to run a medical marijuana dispensary in Deerfield are expected to ask the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday for letters of support.

A New Leaf Inc. is scheduled to come before the board to discuss its plans publicly for the first time. J.M. Farm’s Patient Group is not on the formal agenda yet, but director James M. Pasiecnik of Whately said his group will also attend next week’s meeting.

A New Leaf is co-directed by Montague residents Joshua and Marina Goldman and Susan Lowry. Joshua Goldman is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Australis Aquaculture, a fish farm in Montague. Goldman declined to comment about his group’s plans.

The two groups are among five competing for a state license to run a medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation center in Franklin County. The state requires each of the 13 counties to have one license and no more than five.

The selectmen, however, are not required to give letters of support to either group and the state Department of Public Health application for a registered medical marijuana dispensary does not require a support letter from a host community.

A letter only improves an applicant’s chances with the state, Pasiecnik said.

Interim Town Administrator Wendy Foxmyn said the town has been advised by its lawyer that it doesn’t have to support either applicant and can choose to write a general letter of support for being a host community for a facility. The decision is up to the selectmen, Foxmyn said.

The selectmen are a permitting authority under the town’s zoning bylaw (and act as the Board of Health) and supporting one or both proposals at this time may compromise their later permitting responsibilities, Foxmyn said.

The two nonprofits also competed for the same property at 10 Greenfield Road, which is owned by Greenfield Road LLC, a real estate company owned by Mark Valone of South Deerfield.

But this week, Pasiecnik said, he reached an agreement with Valone and secured a lease for the 15,747-square-foot space.

Pasiecnik said he agreed to pay a $35,000 nonrefundable deposit to Valone for the property.

“We have it locked up,” Pasiecnik said.

If he receives a license, Pasiecnik said, he would run the dispensary and cultivation center at the site. The total property is 100,000-square-feet, Pasiecnik said, which will allow his company to expand.

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