EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

January 2, 2014

Rivera: Lawrence says 'no' to pot stores

Incoming mayor looks to avoid controversy

LAWRENCE — Mayor-elect Daniel Rivera will oppose licensing any medical marijuana facilities here, one of only two communities that voted against the 2012 referendum that legalized the drug for medicinal use, in a break from outgoing Mayor William Lantigua.

Rivera, who takes office in a private swearing-in tonight and plans a public inauguration for Saturday, said he will call the state Department of Public Health, which will issue dispensary licenses, to express his opposition.

“I understand the medical efficacy of it. I’m not trying to fight that reasoning,” Rivera said. “But Lawrence has had its share of, let’s call it controversial issues. We don’t want to add that. The community here voted against it. We’re trying to change our perception here. We want people to know we’re doing things that are not controversial.”

Local officials cannot prohibit dispensaries from opening within their community borders, according to a decision from the state attorney general’s office last year. Cities and towns can, though, restrict where a dispensary may operate.

“We will abide by state law and will zone appropriately,” Rivera said. “But we want DPH to know we don’t want a medical marijuana dispensary located in Lawrence.”

DPH can issue up to five dispensary licenses per county, and seven nonprofit corporations have applied — two in Salem, two in Beverly, one in Haverhill and one in Lawrence.

Among the factors DPH will consider is community support, along with appropriateness of the site, geographical distribution of dispensaries and the applicant’s ability to meet the overall health needs of registered patients while ensuring public safety.

Rivera hopes DPH will take his opposition, and the city’s vote against the referendum, into consideration when issuing licenses.

“I understand one of the applicants has a letter of support from outgoing Mayor Lantigua to allow for one to be placed here, but my administration will be advocating against any licenses to be awarded in Lawrence,” Rivera said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
Photos of the Week