EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 12, 2014

Jajuga blames Fiorentini for pot dispensary letter

Council extends marijuana dispensary ban to Nov. 18


Fiorentini apologized to Scatamacchia last night.

“I didn’t realize this letter would put a good and honest man on the hot seat,” the mayor said of Scatamacchia.

Council President John Michitson grilled the mayor on details of the letter, but said after the meeting he was unable to get to the truth about what happened.

The mayor told Michitson he knew the letter was meant to help the company secure a dispensary license, but that he did not specifically know it would win it points on its application.

“I know they needed it to keep the process open,” Fiorentini said. “I saw nothing wrong with the letter then, and I still don’t.”

The mayor said he rewrote the letter that Jajuga brought to him to more accurately reflect the city’s position on medical marijuana dispensaries, including that there was a temporary ban on them in place until Feb. 25, while the council decided the best place to locate one. The mayor also said Jajuga’s original letter was overly supportive of the city’s position on hosting a dispensary.

At the end of his remarks, Fiorentini recommended the council extend the city’s temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries to June.

“I recognize there are hurt feelings and that the process is flawed, but we still need to move forward with zoning to decide the best place for a dispensary,” Fiorentini said.

Instead, the council voted unanimously to extend the temporary ban on dispensaries to Nov. 18. It also voted to send the zoning issue to its Administration and Finance Committee to hold a public hearing to get input from the community on the best place for a dispensary in the city.

Fiorentini and several councilors said they were concerned about several instances in Healthy Pharms 144-page application in which the company claimed to have met with local officials who were supportive of a dispensary in the city. However, three of those officials — including Planning Director William Pillsbury — said they never met with anyone from the company.

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