Saugus Board of Selectmen to hear cannabis proposals

SAUGUS — The Board of Selectmen will hear from each of the seven cannabis dispensaries seeking to open their doors in town later this month.

Hearings are scheduled for each of the companies — Uma Flowers, Sanctuary Medicinals, Triple M, Olde World Remedies, NortheastCann, Bostica, and Broadway Cannabis — beginning on Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano said Thursday he expects hearings to take place on Sept. 13 as well.

The proposals finally going before the board marks a major step forward for the prospect of recreational marijuana in Saugus, and follows the issuance of a report by the Marijuana Establishment Review Committee in July. That committee, crafted by Town Manager Scott Crabtree, spent months reviewing each company’s proposals, ultimately recommending the board issue permits to Uma Flowers, with a proposed location at 24 Broadway, and Sanctuary Medicinals, with a proposed location of 181 Broadway.

The committee was made up of Crabtree, Police Chief Michael Ricciardelli, Fire Chief Michael Newbury, Director of Public Health John R. Fralick III, Procurement Director Michele Wendell, Planning Board Vice Chair Jeannie Meredith, and Building Commissioner Michael LaVecchia.

Selectmen will provide the final say on how many S-2 permits are ultimately issued to dispensaries. The town’s zoning bylaws, which were amended to permit dispensaries in 2021, allow for three to open.

Issuance of any permits by the board will require a unanimous vote, with Selectman Jeff Cicolini recusing himself from the proceedings on the basis of a potential conflict of interest, as an accounting firm he works for does business with one of the companies seeking to open in town.

Cogliano, who helped spearhead the zoning change to allow dispensaries, repeatedly expressed frustration with the review process initiated by Crabtree, which began in January with the issuance of a request for information. With the companies now coming before the selectmen, Cogliano has an opportunity to take control of the process.

Cogliano took issue with the recommendations issued by the committee, noting that both locations are north of Walnut Street. As a result, he said, they would likely be inconvenient for Saugus residents.

Instead, Cogliano suggested the proposed location of NortheastCann at the Avalon Motel might be more beneficial to the town, as it would “get rid of that nightmare.”

“I intend to do our due diligence,” he said.

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