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Medical Marijuana

Pot group to meet with Greenfield officials

GREENFIELD — A medical marijuana dispensary applicant who originally applied for state licenses in Worcester and Northampton is now setting its sights on Greenfield.

Patriot Care Corp. is one of the eight groups that were not granted their proposed location last week, but were invited by the state Department of Public Health to seek a change of location to a county that didn’t get a dispensary this month.

The state viewed these applicants as “highly qualified.” The three homegrown would-be dispensary developers were rejected by the state.

Franklin County and Berkshire, Dukes and Nantucket counties did not get licenses.

Though the Northampton and Worcester proposals were denied, Patriot Care Corp. was granted a license to open a dispensary in Lowell.

The state said it will announce a second round of applicants, most likely chosen from the group of eight, this June.

On Friday at 2 p.m., the principals from Patriot Care Corp. will meet with Greenfield Mayor William Martin, Health Director Nicole Zabko and Economic Development Director Robert Pyers to discuss their proposal.

Patriot Care Corp. is the first of the eight to contact Greenfield town officials so far.

According to Martin, they will discuss the applicant’s future participation in the community, their involvement in services to their clients, security measures and other issues.

Members of Patriot Care Corp. are Michael Abbott of Nantucket, Nicholas Vita of Nantucket and Robert Mayerson of Harvard.

Abbott and Vita currently serve as executives and board members for three dispensaries in Washington D.C. and Arizona, two of which are not-for-profit.

In the first phase of the application process, Patriot Care Corp., eyed Franklin County, Hampden County and Middlesex County. Eventually, it had applied for sites in Worcester and Hampshire counties. It had applied to open a dispensary in Northampton and a growing facility in South Hadley.

Any medical marijuana group that comes to Greenfield would have to abide by the newly adopted local zoning ordinance.

A special permit for a dispensary would only be allowed from the Zoning Board of Appeals. A special permit application is required to provide proposed security measures for the dispensary, including lighting, fencing, gates and alarms.

The zoning ordinance doesn’t allow for a dispensary to be open between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., or be located within a 100 foot radius of a school or children play areas.

Eligible zoning areas where dispensaries may be allowed by special permit are the Central Commercial, General Commercial, General Industry, Health Service and Limited Commercial Zoning Districts.

During the initial application process, Deerfield and Wells streets were targeted as possible dispensary locations among applicants, Martin said.

The three local applicants that did not get licenses were M.R. Absolute Medical Resources Inc., managed by Michael Ruggeri of Greenfield, a liquor store operator; A New Leaf, managed by Joshua Goldman of Montague, who runs a successful fish farm; J.M. Farm’s Patient Group Inc., managed by James Pasiecnik, a potato farmer in Whately, and Nicholas Spagnola of Revere.

The state didn’t make clear whether the original applicants can reapply for the second round.

Ruggeri has originally proposed 32 Mead St. in Greenfield for a dispensary location.

When asked to comment on his lost bid, Ruggeri said he’d refer all questions to the state Department of Public Health.

“They’re not telling me anything,” Ruggeri said. “I don’t know if I’m reapplying. They are calling the shots.”

Ruggeri’s group scored lowest of Franklin County applicants, with a 106.

The Goldmans hope to re-apply in a future round.

“I was shocked to hear no licenses were granted in Franklin County,” said Marina Goldman, executive director of A New Leaf, which hoped to establish in Montague.

Goldman isn’t sure why A New Leaf wasn’t granted a license to operate. She only knows that its score of 111 wasn’t high enough.

“We’re guessing that the site wasn’t central enough,” said Marina Goldman. The dispensary would have been located at 253 Millers Falls Road in Montague, an industrial park near the town’s airport.

She said A New Leaf has been looking into other, more central locations in Montague on existing bus routes.

Goldman said the application process placed high demands on applicants, and gave them little time to meet deadlines. She said she feels the process favored larger, more organized groups that have “big-money backers.”

J.M. Farm’s Patient Group, which scored 141, the highest among the three local applicants. The group declined to speak on the record at this time.

All three of Patriot Care Corp.’s applications scored 141, tying with J.M. Farm’s Patient Group.

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