SAUGUS — A total of seven companies responded to the Request for Information issued by the town for retail marijuana establishments, sending the proposals to a committee headed by Town Manager Scott Crabtree for review.
The deadline for responses to the RFI, issued in January, was Feb. 23, according to Purchasing Director Michele Wendell. The companies that completed the request are Olde World Remedies, Sanctuary Medicinals, Broadway Cannabis, Bostica, Triple M, Uma Flowers, and Northeast Cann. The proposed locations for dispensaries are 24 Broadway, 44 Broadway, 181 Broadway, 1268 Broadway, 1393 Broadway, 1529 Broadway, and 173 Main St.
But, not all seven companies will be able to open their doors in Saugus. Indeed, the town’s zoning bylaws permit just three dispensaries, and the committee’s review process will likely thin the field.
The “coordinated Marijuana Establishment Review Committee” is comprised of Crabtree, Police Chief Michael Ricciardelli, Fire Chief Michael Newbury, Director of Public Health John Fralick, the town’s procurement director, a member of the Planning Board, and the town’s building commissioner. The committee has 30 to 60 days from the submission deadline to review applications, meaning applicants may have to wait until the end of April to know if their proposal is moving forward.
Respondents deemed qualified by the committee may be invited to enter into negotiations with Crabtree regarding a Host Community Agreement, who “reserves the right to reject any and all applications deemed not to be in the town’s best interest,” according to a copy of the RFI obtained by The Item.
Only then will applicants go before the Board of Selectmen for a public hearing and ultimately, the issuance of an S-2 permit, a process likely to start in May given the lengthy review period.
Board Chairman Anthony Cogliano was one of the key drivers behind amending the town’s zoning bylaws to allow dispensaries in the first place, which Town Meeting approved last year. He said board members would take direction from the police department and heavily scrutinize the security plans of each applicant.
The board would like to see “prior experience in the business” and for the location to be a “good fit for the neighborhood,” Cogliano said.
A number of companies have already held community outreach meetings to outline the specifications of their proposal, a step mandated by the Cannabis Control Commission. Several will be required to host similar meetings again as part of the committee’s review process, giving members of the public another opportunity to interrogate the proposals.