Opiate Working Group: Newmarket Marijuana Proposal Could Protect South End

A new proposal for a marijuana growing and processing facility in Newmarket could protect parts of the South End from any additional marijuana dispensaries, courtesy of Boston’s zoning amendment that prevents any dispensaries from being within a half-mile of one another.

A zoning text amendment from Councilor Michael Flaherty a few years ago prevents any marijuana facility of any kind from locating within a half-mile radius of any other facility.

Newmarket Executive Director Sue Sullivan told the South End Forum Opiate Working Group on Tuesday, June 19, that they had received a proposal from a new company looking to locate at the corner of Hamden and Kimball streets, just over the border of the South End. The company is headed by the son of the Brookline Ice company owners – a company located in Newmarket.

Sullivan said there would not be retail sales, but only growing and processing being done. She said it was an attractive proposal to her group as it would fully protect Newmarket from any further proposals. One medical marijuana dispensary already has been approved for Clapp Street on the other side of Newmarket.

“They presented to us, and we’re not supporting it, but we’re not closing it either,” she said. “We’re probably moving more towards supporting than not supporting. It would be growing with no dispensary and a very nice building with 30-50 jobs…For us, within a half-mile radius you don’t have to accept another grow or dispensary facility. This covers the second half-mile radius of Newmarket that is not covered by Clapp Street. We would be able to reject any other proposal.”

That would likely also be true for parts of the South End, including Worcester Square and Albany Street – essentially freezing out operations that have put out the feelers for that area of the South End.

Forum moderator Steve Fox said there have been preliminary talks about marijuana locations at 60 E. Springfield St. and 710 Albany St. Those would likely be blocked by the Newmarket proposal.

It would not freeze out the high-profile dispensary proposal slated for 633 Tremont St. by Compassionate Organics.

  • Speaking of Compassionate Organics, the company was a no-show at Tuesday’s Opiate Working Group despite a crowded room of police, medical professionals, recovery experts and neighbors who wished to hear their presentation. The Working Group had hoped to use the presentation to formulate an advisory opinion for any Zoning Board hearing in the future.

Fox said he wasn’t sure what happened, that they had not informed him they weren’t coming.

Compassionate Organics has appeared at several other community meetings, including Pilot Block and Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA).

  • The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) held a meeting with Fox and Sullivan on Wednesday, June 20, to discuss the South End’s hopes for the Shattuck Hospital campus.

There has been much discord in JP about an existing proposal for supportive housing on two acres of the campus, and that situation has yet to be resolved. At the same time, the JPNC is concerned about the idea of services being moved from the South End to Shattuck when the hospital moves to the South End’s Newton Pavilion in a few years.

“They are very concerned about what we would like to see there,” Fox said. “This would be dialog from neighborhood to neighborhood and assuring them that we’re not in the business of dumping things on them. We will say that as the need for more services grows, we do need to look at other places dedicated to public health to grow those services. We’re going to be starting to sell the idea.”

  • D-4 Capt. Steve Sweeny relayed that they will have three bicycle officers coming on from the station during certain shifts and dedicated to the South End, Back Bay and Fenway district. The overall Citywide bicycle unit is doing patrols as well, but three officers from D-4 will be able to supplement that as well.

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