Fitchburg – As of Tuesday night, Massachusetts Patient Foundation is the second organization with official approval to open a marijuana growing and processing facility in the city.
Since Massachusetts voters in 2014 legalized the growth and distribution of marijuana for medical treatment purposes, dozens of organizations have applied throughout the state to do exactly that.
A number of those organizations have expressed interest in bringing their growing operations to Fitchburg.
On Tuesday, Massachusetts Patient Foundation became the first medical-marijuana organization to be approved by the Planning Board through the special-permit process. Another organization was given site-plan approval, a less in-depth process, last year.
Project engineer Tony Capachietti and Massachusetts Patient Foundation board member Joseph Lekach spoke at the Planning Board’s meeting Tuesday on behalf of Massachusetts Patient Foundation, which will grow marijuana at 99 Development Road for a dispensary that will likely be in Arlington.
Daniel Karten, chairman of the Massachusetts Patient Foundation board, said earlier this month that the organization wants to move into the Development Road location “within 30 days” of Planning Board approval.
On Tuesday, Lekach said it would be several months before the company actually begin growing any marijuana plants in that space.
Officials have sent the state Department of Public Health their siting profile, Lekach said, and they expect the state to respond within a month, hopefully approving that profile.
Capachietti added that they expect to hire 20 employees within their first year of operation, and will give priority to applicants from Fitchburg. Within a few more years, Lekach said, the facility will have 60 employees.
The facility is the second to be approved by the board, and the first to be approved through this process.
The first medical-marijuana growing operation in the city, Garden Remedies, obtained a permit before Fitchburg had any regulations requiring an applicant to apply for a special permit. Now that the city does have regulations, any medical-marijuana growing facility or dispensary will have to come before the board and request a special permit.
Another medical-marijuana organization, Compassionate Organics, was scheduled for a special-permit hearing Tuesday night but requested a continuance for the hearing.
City Planner Mike O’Hara said he was told by Compassionate Organics CEO Geoffrey Reilinger that “their landlord might be backing out of the deal” for a space at 25 Newport St.
Reilinger said in July he had signed a lease agreement for the 60,000-square-foot space on Newport Street.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Fitchburg Planning Board OKs Second Medical Marijuana Facility In City
Author: Anna Burgess
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