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Patriot Care Poised to Sell Recreational Pot

September 27, 2018

Lowell Sun

LOWELL -- Patriot Care, Corp. is poised to become the first company to sell recreational marijuana in the city.

Earlier this month, the medical marijuana and cultivation dispensary in Lowell obtained its provisional state license to begin selling recreational marijuana at 70 Industrial Avenue East.

The company also acquired state provisional licenses to grow recreational marijuana at 170 Lincoln St., as well as manufacture recreational marijuana products, such as edible candies, baked goods, hash, oils and tinctures.

“I was surprised that one had already been issued,” City Councilor Rodney Elliott said at Tuesday evening’s council meeting, during discussion on the status of marijuana licenses in the city.

“I just want to be kept abreast of what’s taking place,” he added. “It’s important we stay on top of this.”

In addition to Patriot Care, city officials have met with eight other groups regarding proposed marijuana retail locations, city officials reported on Tuesday. Five other entities could soon have cultivation and manufacturing agreements with the city.

Seven of the retail proposals are on sites that are legal under existing zoning, and the proposals are being vetted by a working group set up by City Manager Eileen Donoghue.

Members of the working group have completed site visits, and are in the process of scoring the proposals to make recommendations to Donoghue regarding which businesses should be offered host-community agreements.

In April, Donoghue negotiated and executed a host-community agreement with Patriot Care to convert its existing cultivation/manufacturing facility and dispensary from medical only to combined medical/retail.

Patriot Care then appeared before the Planning Board and obtained the required approvals to have retail marijuana sales at their dispensary location. Next, Patriot Care proceeded through the state process with the Cannabis Control Commission.

Under the provisional license, their proposed retail hours of operation at Industrial Avenue East are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Their proposed hours of operation at the cultivation site on Lincoln Street are Monday to Sunday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The cultivation provisional license at Lincoln Street is to grow between 40,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet of marijuana canopy.

Its cultivation cycle is a 14- to 15-week process from propagation through harvest.

Columbia Care, LLC is the parent company of Patriot Care. Columbia Care has disclosed marijuana-related business interests in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois and other states.

The city has informed five other entities that the city would be willing to enter into host-community agreements with them for cultivation and manufacturing only. Officials anticipate that these agreements will be executed within the coming weeks.

Under the host-community agreement, the owner of Patriot Care will pay the city 3 percent of the marijuana business’ total revenues. In the host agreement with Patriot Care, it states that the community impact fee could be used for first-responder programs, drug-abuse prevention, increased police patrols and more.

The owner of Patriot Care also agreed that they’re committed to hiring local employees, and will prioritize using local businesses for various services.

The City Council has voted to limit the number of dispensaries to five -- the minimum allowed under the Cannabis Control Commission’s regulations.

Elliott on Tuesday said the city should explore limiting the number of cultivation sites. Donoghue responded that the city is “certainly willing” to discuss that limit.

The City Council has also approved recreational zoning regulations. Recreational marijuana dispensaries in Lowell will not be allowed to open within 500 feet of an elementary school, middle school, secondary school, or any school or college with students under 21.

In addition to the school regulation, the zoning rules will prevent dispensaries from opening within 1,000 feet of each other. They also could not have any walk-up or drive-through service.

Further, the building must be designed to prevent marijuana odors from leaving the property line. Also, marijuana and tobacco products cannot be smoked, ingested or otherwise consumed in the building. The applicant will have to submit a security plan that must be approved by the Lowell Police Department.

Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.

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