SAUGUS — While the Board of Selectmen will not have any applications before them for special permits for the opening of marijuana dispensaries until at least the end of February, Triple M, a company with dispensaries in Plymouth and Mashpee, held a community outreach meeting Wednesday night walking residents through their plans for Saugus.
The company has a signed lease for the property at 1393 Broadway, which currently houses All Tune & Lube, and is seeking to open a 2,380-square-foot facility with 30 parking spaces. The Saugus facility would be retail only, selling marijuana for both recreational and medical uses. The company would not do any cultivation or processing at the site, and would not home deliver product to patients or customers.
Company President Lianne Ankner gave a detailed presentation to a handful of residents gathered in the Town Hall Conference Room Wednesday night at the meeting, which was moderated by Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano. Triple M has been operating cannabis facilities for five years, Ankner explained, and as such the company is “ready to go.”
“We’ve gone through this process now four times, we basically know the application backwards and forwards. We don’t have really any back and forth with the [Cannabis Control Commission] because they’ve already approved it four times. So it’s not like we’re learning how to write a proper application to the state,” she said.
The Saugus facility, she said, would be equipped with 27 security cameras and would have 24/7 video surveillance coverage of the entire property. The interior product vault would be constructed out of reinforced steel, she said, and motion detector alarms would be placed throughout the building. In five years of operation, Triple M has had “no major incident or thefts at their existing locations.”
The zoning bylaw passed by Town Meeting earlier this year requires that dispensaries be located both 1,000 feet from the nearest school and 1,000 feet from the nearest playground. The proposed location Triple M has leased sits more than 4,000 feet away from the Saugus Middle/High School complex, according to Ankner.
The company would also have a variety of protocols, including two separate ID checks, to ensure no product was sold to people under 21.
Ankner also explained a number of steps the company intends to take that they believe would positively impact Saugus, including a pledge to “use best efforts to hire local residents” and the hiring of Liz Marchese as a community outreach director. Marchese is a former member of the School Committee and was in attendance at the meeting Wednesday.
As a result of a Host Community Agreement, Saugus would be able to garner 3 percent of sales from the dispensary, which Ankner said could exceed $1 million.
Cogliano said he was impressed by the presentation, and representatives from the company faced little questioning from those who attended the meeting.
Triple M Chief Operating Officer Kevin O’Reilly said the company identified Saugus as a location of interest because of a continued interest in operating dispensaries in small towns.
“We’re locally owned. We like the smaller communities … Saugus is a great location … we’re used to dealing with smaller towns. We’re not interested in a Boston location,” he said.
In June, Saugus heard a presentation from the owners of Bostica, who are in the process of opening a cultivation facility on Linden Street in Lynn. Bostica proposed a location at 44 Broadway Unit A and that meeting was also moderated by Cogliano.
On Friday, a virtual meeting will be held at 7 p.m. regarding a proposal to open a dispensary at 1268 Broadway.
Cogliano said he was set to moderate another meeting in the coming weeks.
The public meetings are the result of a CCC requirement that “the applicant must host a
publicly accessible community outreach meeting.” The sudden spike in such meetings is the result of the Attorney General’s office approving the amended Zoning bylaw proposed by Cogliano that cleared Town Meeting earlier this year.
At their meeting Tuesday evening, the Board of Selectmen further clarified the process dispensaries are required to go through to open in Saugus, including a meeting with Town Manager Scott Crabtree.
Crabtree said he was going to publish a Request for Information from dispensaries, similar to the process other vendors go through, that would require interested parties to supply the town with a location, specifications for the property, an operations plan, as well as what agreement they propose to reach with Saugus, and proving they adhered to all state regulations. Those applications would then be reviewed by Crabtree and other town departments, before they would be allowed to go before the board and request a special use permit.
“The key thing is rather than … it would be equivalent to having people submit information and wanting to do things with not having all the criteria, it would sort of be a lot of confusion,” he said, explaining that the town hoped to get an RFI posted next month, which would then be publicly posted for a month, meaning the board would likely not see any applications until the end of February at the earliest.
Charlie McKenna can be reached at [email protected].