SHIRLEY Seeking to tap into a potential pool of pot purveyors seeking to set up shop here, Selectmen have established a seven-person advisory group to help them find the best fit for the town.
So far, three would-be pot shops have presented plans to the board. Two aimed to grow the plants on site; one would be retail only.
All three had sites picked out in the commercial/industrial-zoned section of Lancaster Road, a designated district cited in the town’s marijuana bylaw.
After hearing the first pitch, from a start-up outfit called MJ’s Market, the selectmen agreed to work with that company on a Host Community Agreement.
The HCI is a key procedural requirement set by the the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.
At the selectmen’s request, Town Administrator Mike McGovern met with MJ’s representatives and the company had a draft HCI in hand when the board re-set its course.
Presented with broader options and maybe more interest out there then they’d envisioned, the selectmen decided to hold off negotiating with hopefuls one at a time in favor of casting a wider net and to that end voted at a previous meeting to seat a five-person advisory committee consisting of a Planning Board member, the police chief and three at-large members from the community.
The charge: hammer out a request for proposals, review RFP responses and come up with a best-bet applicant to recommend to the board.
Residents had a two-week window to apply and it turned out there was ample interest and them some.
Last week, the selectmen appointed seven people to the Marijuana Retail Establishment Review Sub-Committee, upping the total to seat all five residents on the list.
The important issue is balance, McGovern said, with an odd rather than an even number at the table.
Resident members are Jim Yocum, Jenna Kim, Patricia Krauchune, Larry Shephard and Catherine Lahousse.
Janet Tice represents the Planning Board.
The seventh member is Police Chief Samuel Santiago.
The group’s first meeting is set for Monday, July 15, 6 to 9 pm at the Town Offices.