EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 26, 2014

Council calls for AG probe of pot dispensary tactics

Disavows letter of non-opposition for pot dispensary

HAVERHILL — City Council voted unanimously last night to disavow a controversial letter signed in November by then-council president Robert Scatamacchia that was used by a company to win a provisional license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in the city.

The council also voted to ask Attorney General Martha Coakley to investigate the tactics used by Healthy Pharms Inc. in obtaining Scatamacchia’s signature on the letter as well as several claims and statements in the company’s application for a dispensary that have since been disputed.

Scatamacchia has said he was tricked into signing the letter and that he did not know it would be used to help Healthy Pharms win a license or even that it would be included in the company’s state application.

The letter, which said the city does not oppose a dispensary, 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.

James Jajuga, a registered lobbyist and former state senator who until recently worked for Healthy Pharms, initially asked Mayor James Fiorentini to sign the letter, but the mayor refused. Instead, the mayor had his aide David Van Dam call Scatamacchia and ask him to come to the mayor’s office to sign the letter, which Scatamacchia agreed to do. Jajuga is also a Methuen City Councilor and a former president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce.

Scatamacchia said he believed the purpose of the letter was only to show the state that Haverhill had a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries while it considered the best place to allow one in the city.

Jajuga told The Eagle-Tribune two weeks ago that a lawyer for Healthy Pharms wrote the letter, but that Fiorentini substantially rewrote it before Scatamacchia signed it.

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