Holyoke – The group pitching a medical marijuana facility headed by prominent figures Heriberto Flores and Brian P. Lees took another detour by saying it was withdrawing pursuit of a special permit from the city.
It was unclear if that signaled the plan to open such a dispensary by Debilitating Medical Condition Treatment Centers, a nonprofit organization, was dead.
The group initially proposed a medical pot facility here in 2014 but backed off after licensing problems with the state. After resurfacing with the latest proposal in June, the group then said presentation of its application to the City Council for a special permit would be delayed until Aug. 2.
The City Council received a letter Monday from Joan M. Dietz, the lawyer representing the group, that said: “Please be advised that Debilitating Medical Condition Treatment Centers Inc. hereby withdraws the application for special permit to operate a registered medical marijuana dispensary submitted on July 27, 2016.”
Flores, Lees and Dietz couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Mayor Alex B. Morse and City Council President Kevin A. Jourdain said they were unsure why Debilitating Medical Condition Treatment Centers was withdrawing.
The City Council Ordinance Committee scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall on the proposed medical pot facility.
Massachusetts voters in 2012 permitted medical marijuana facilities by approving a statewide ballot question, and state law prohibits a city or town from banning such facilities. But the city can regulate where such a facility can be located and require that the permit-holder disclose security measures and discuss issues like hours of operation.
Marijuana can be prescribed medically to treat cancer, glaucoma, HIV-AIDS and other illnesses.
Principals of Debilitating Medical Condition Treatment Center are Flores, president of the New England Farm Workers Council, of Springfield; Lees, who formerly was a Republican state senator and Hampden County clerk of courts, of East Longmeadow; Mary E. Frey, wife of former Hampden district attorney William M. Bennett, of Longmeadow; and lawyer Tonia Butler Perez of Springfield.
Flores is listed on the special permit application as the applicant and Lees’ is the contact name. Flores also is listed as president and a director of the corporation in documents on file with the state secretary of state’s office. Bennett, who was district attorney for 20 years, is listed as attorney for the nonprofit organization in corporate filings with the state secretary of state’s office. He also has represented Flores in other matters.
Flores said at the Aug. 2 City Council meeting, when his group’s special permit application was referred to committee, that the facilitywould employ about 20 people, with Holyokers getting some preference.
He has spoken with Holyoke police about the facility and will stay in touch with people who live in the neighborhood, he also said.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Medical Marijuana Plan In Holyoke Withdrawn By Herbie Flores, Brian Lees Group
Author: Mike Plaisance
Photo Credit: Mike Plaisance