The Back Bay-based Compassionate Organics medical marijuana company has applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for relief to open a medical marijuana facility at 633 Tremont St. in the South End.
Owner Geoffrey Reilinger said the facility would start as medical only, but he hopes he can get enough support in the community to switch to recreational marijuana in the future.
“The only question in front of us now is medial,” he told the Sun this week. “If we want to do recreational, we have to come before the community again to do that. Yes, it is our intention (to be recreational), but ultimately, we will do what the community is comfortable with us doing. We want to open for medical and see how we do and then come back and have people make this decision based on fact rather than conjecture. It is ultimately my intention to go recreational if the community will allow that.”
Reilinger, of Exeter Street in the Back Bay, said they do not yet have a date with the ZBA, but he is hopeful that they can provide more access to patients in the South End. Already, Compassionate Organics went through the ZBA process to locate their medical marijuana facility on Newbury Street last year. In that process, they promised not to go recreational, but Reilinger said he would prefer not to do that again.
“The economics become very difficult when everyone else is doing something you aren’t doing,” he said.
Compassionate Organics approached the community in a very robust fashion in December to discuss their proposal. On Feb. 22, they applied to Boston Inspectional Services for a permit, and got the formal denial letter.
Last Thursday, March 15, Attorney Mike Ross, a former City Councilor, applied to the ZBA on behalf of Compassionate Organics for a variance to operate a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center.
This week, some in the community have reservations, as they have since the matter was first discussed.
The South End Forum Opiate Working Group has proposed a moratorium on all new social services, including medical marijuana, within a one-mile radius of Boston Medical Center. That proposal would include the site of Compassionate Organics.
On Tuesday, at the Working Group monthly meeting, Moderator Steve Fox said they would keep an eye on the medical marijuana proposal, and others like it in the area, as it relates to the one-mile radius idea.
“That proposal is now in process,” he said. “In the meantime, overshadowing it is what is going to happen in July with recreational marijuana. Compassionate Organics has not made a covenant not to go recreational if they get the zoning relief. I don’t know if a medical marijuana facility on that block fits into our proposal for a moratorium. Many in the South End believe we need to take a deep breath from the services. Nonetheless, this is on our radar screen.”