EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 7, 2014

Council to question pot center president

Averill to answer queries about Haverhill proposal

HAVERHILL — It’s hard to imagine things going much worse for Healthy Pharms since it received a provisional license Jan. 31 from the state to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Hale Street.

First, City Councilor Robert Scatamacchia said he was tricked into signing a letter on behalf of the organization that it used to win the license. Then several city and regional officials said statements that were attributed to them in Healthy Pharms’ dispensary application were false.

A few weeks later the council disavowed Scatamacchia’s letter and asked the Attorney General’ Office and the state Public Health Department to investigate the organization’s tactics and the alleged misstatements and misrepresentations in its dispensary application.

More recently, Mayor James Fiorentini said his committee that recommended the Hale Street industrial area as the best place in the city for a dispensary was having second thoughts about that location. Healthy Pharms has an option to buy an old furniture building at 114 Hale St. and had made extensive plans to convert the building into a center to grow, process and sell medical marijuana in a retail setting.

And now, earlier this week, it was reported that Healthy Pharms’ is being advised by a Diana and John Czarkowski, a husband-and-wife team that was forced in 2012 to close their Colorado marijuana dispensary because of violations. The violations include improper storage of marijuana, growing more plants than allowed under its state license and improperly maintaining records.

The Czarkowskis also appear to be involved with as many as seven Massachusetts’ dispensary proposals — an apparent violation of state regulations that forbid any one person or company from being involved in the management of more than three proposed operations.

Massachusetts is preparing for dispensaries to open because two years ago voters approved use of medical marijuana. Haverhill cannot stop a medical marijuana dispensary from opening in the city, but officials can adopt zoning to limit where one would be allowed.

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