AYER -- After hearing presentations from two out-of-town companies seeking support for the establishment of medical marijuana facilities in Ayer, the Board of Selectmen chose not to take any action on either application.
The decision came as a surprise since selectmen had earlier voted to supply a third company with a letter of nonopposition at a prior meeting.
The action took place at the board's meeting of Nov. 19 when members heard presentations from the Botanica Dispensary (or Massachusetts Military Veterans Assistance Group) and Massachusetts Compassionate Patient Care (MCPCC), both with Colorado-based roots.
First up was Botanica Dispensary, represented by chief operating officer Duncan Rose. He explained that his company was mostly concerned with the production end of medical marijuana and other plant propagation developed through the latest hydroponic methods.
Seeking to move into an existing 27,000-square-foot building located at 11 Willow Road, Rose told selectmen that only the strictest security measures would be taken to ensure the plant against break-ins and theft even to the extent of using "disguised vans" for the transportation and home delivery of marijuana products.
Rose said that although the dispensing of marijuana products would be conducted at the plant, eventually customers would have their medicine home-delivered.
As for the medical marijuana itself, Rose said that it would be taken by patients through inhalation rather than pill or plant form.
On the other hand, Gorden Kaminer of MCPCC, said that his company planned to offer marijuana in all forms. And though Rose said his company's product would be used to alleviate pain, Kaminer said MCPCC's, coming as it did in many forms, including mixed with different kinds of foods, was used by its customers not only for pain relief, but also for nausea, dizziness and other ailments.
According to Kaminer, if approved, MCPCC planned to locate its operations at the same address that Botanica had cited, 11 Willow Road. That would come in addition to a second site at 1 Bishop Road where the actual dispensing of the medical marijuana would take place.
Kaminer told selectmen that it was the feeling of his company that patients would be uncomfortable going to an industrial park to receive their medicines and that a storefront of sorts would be more suitable for that.
Security issues would be as tight for MCPCC as it was for Botanica with the company hoping to work with the community as it did at three other facilities it operates in Colorado.
Concerns raised by the board included traffic generation, security, job creation, taxes and possible benefits to the community of citing a medical marijuana business in town.
Both companies had hoped to win a letter of nonopposition from the board, needed to proceed with their license application with the state. But citing the need for more public discussion on the two proposals, board members voted instead to take no action on either of them.
The move did not please Rose, who said the letter had been needed that night in order to submit a license application with the state.
The board's vote came in contrast to an earlier decision by selectmen to supply a third applicant, Shirley-based Central Avenue Compassionate Care, with a letter of nonopposition to its own plans for a medical marijuana dispensary in Ayer.