EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 27, 2014

DeLeo: Throw out pot applications

House speaker suggests medical marijuana process for Haverhill, other sites restart

BOSTON — Citing concerns about discrepancies on the applications for medical marijuana licenses, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said the state should scrap all applications and start over.

DeLeo said he has heard from “a number of electeds” who told him their names were included on license applications in support of projects without their permission.

Among the applications being questioned is one which led to a provisional license for a dispensary in Haverhill.

The Healthy Pharms organization noted on its application that several public officials from Greater Haverhill either supported a dispensary coming to a building on Hale Street in Haverhill or had no objection. Healthy Pharms received a provisional license from the state, based partly on the application’s statements about those officials.

But some of those officials have since said they did not express support or a neutral position.

This week, the Haverhill City Council disavowed a letter signed last year by the council president which said the group was not opposed to the Healthy Pharms proposal. The council also said it will ask the Attorney General’s Office to investigate. Councilor Robert Scatamacchia, who was council president last year, said he was tricked into signing the letter.

DeLeo’s suggestion that the state Department of Public Health toss the applications came on the Tuesday night edition of the talk show “Broadside’’ on New England Cable News.

Asked whether the Department of Public Health should rescind its preliminary approval for 20 dispensaries, DeLeo said, “Yesterday or this morning I would have said, ‘No. They should just take a look at those where they have found errors.’ Today I’m probably saying ‘yes’ because of the fact that I’ve heard other stories today from people who have made applications who said, ‘Not only did (DPH) not review or try to verify what I said but they didn’t even talk to me in terms of what this process was about.’ “

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