EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 20, 2014

Probe into pot company's actions urged

Letter asks state to investigate medical marijuana proposal


Coco stated in his letter that William Pillsbury, director of economic development and planning for the city, as well as Joseph Costanzo, administrator of the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority, and Dennis DiZoglio, executive director of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, have publicly disputed having “held meetings” as claimed by Healthy Pharms in its application.

“In each of these instances, government officials indicated they may have had chance meetings with Jajuga, but were unaware of his critical role in the preparation of Healthy Pharms’ application,” Coco said in his letter.

“The result of these misleading claims provided Healthy Pharms with additional application points,” the letter continued. “Even if these points were not enough to have materially affected its application, the behavior calls into question the integrity of the applicant and the role of political lobbying.”

The letter, which stated the city does not oppose a dispensary in the city, scored Healthy Pharms points in a state evaluation process that was key to the company being granted a provisional license for a dispensary on Hale Street near the city’s downtown.

At last week’s City Council meeting, Scatamacchia said he was tricked into signing the letter, which he said he did not realize would be used to help Healthy Pharms win a provisional state license for a dispensary. The letter was signed by Scatamacchia on behalf of the full council, but other councilors said they knew nothing about it and did not agree with it.

Jajuga attended for last week’s three-hour council meeting, but he did not address the council.

Fiorentini recommended the council extend the city’s temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries to June.

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 for input from the community on the best place for a dispensary in Haverhill.

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