Garden Remedies, which plans to open a medical marijuana facility in Newton, continues to seek a cultivation site after withdrawing its plans for a location in Essex.
In October, the Newton Board of Aldermen approved a special permit for the clinic to operate at 697 Washington St. in the Newtonville neighborhood.
Stephen Buchbinder, an attorney for Garden Remedies, said the group is continuing to search for a cultivation site, with six to eight locations under consideration.
In Essex, a new town bylaw restricting medical marijuana sites was approved by Attorney General Martha Coakley, banning any facility from being located within 2,500 feet of a school, preschool, day-care center, playground, or athletic field, or within 1,500 feet of a residential dwelling.
Critics say the bylaw, adopted at a Special Town Meeting in June, effectively outlaws medical marijuana facilities by limiting them to sites that are in conservation areas or otherwise practically unbuildable.
The Essex measure was sponsored as a citizens’ petition at Town Meeting by residents opposing a plan by Garden Remedies to build a growing facility on Western Avenue in the seacoast town. The Newton-based group dropped its plans for Essex prior to the Town Meeting vote.
Scott Solombrino, one of the leaders of the group sponsoring the Essex bylaw, said the Garden Remedies growing site would have been one street away from a preschool, two blocks from a park, and adjacent to a school bus stop.
The state Department of Public Health has granted provisional certificates for 15 dispensaries. The agency is now evaluating whether their facilities meet safety, security, and other standards. Those that do and secure all needed local permits will receive final certificates allowing them to grow and sell their products.
The Globe reported Nov. 21 that US Attorney Carmen Ortiz was considering the use of federal law to shut down dispensaries that open within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, and public housing. According to the story, the New England Treatment Access dispensary at 160 Washington St. in Brookline was among six that would be within 1,000 feet of a school or playground.
John Laidler can be reached at [email protected]
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