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February 7, 2014

Haverhill councilor: I was duped on pot dispensary

Scatamacchia feels 'used' by Jajuga, Fiorentini on marijuana dispensary letter

HAVERHILL — City Councilor Robert Scatamacchia said he was duped into signing a letter on behalf of a company that wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the city, and he is calling for an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office.

He said he was used by James Jajuga, a Methuen city councilor and former state senator who was working as a consultant to the company proposing the pot facility.

Jajuga initially tried to persuade Mayor James Fiorentini to sign a letter of support or non-opposition on behalf of dispensary operator Healthy Pharms Inc.

The mayor refused to sign either.

David Van Dam, the mayor’s aide, said Jajuga came to see Fiorentini in late November with at least two versions of the letter. One stated the city did not oppose or favor a dispensary in Haverhill. The other said the city supported one.

At some point during the meeting in the mayor’s office, it was decided to go with the letter of non-opposition and the language was edited slightly, Van Dam said.

Van Dam said he then called Scatamacchia and asked him to come to City Hall to sign the letter. Scatamacchia said the letter was waiting for him when he arrived and he quickly signed it and left without talking to the mayor or seeing Jajuga.

He said he didn’t know Jajuga was involved until recently.

The letter was a key factor in the state’s decision to award Healthy Pharms a provisional license to operate a marijuana dispensary in Haverhill.

The state Department of Public Health granted provisional licenses to 20 of 100 applicants on Jan. 31. Those that included letters of support or non-opposition from host communities received extra points in the evaluation process.

In a previous interview, Fiorentini said he declined to sign the letter because the decision where a dispensary should be located was up to the council.

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