By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – The Grafton Board of Selectmen held a public hearing at Grafton High School to discuss a proposal from California-based Nature’s Remedy to create an indoor marijuana farm at CenTech Park. The hearing was held at the high school to allow for more seats for voters and other interested parties after an earlier marijuana hearing for Sage Cannabis near Holliday Drive had created an agitated, large crowd at a selectmen’s meeting where there was insufficient room for interested parties to attend. The room at the high school used on May 24 had approximately 50 seats and most of those were filled.
The team from Nature’s Remedy, led by CEO John Brady and Attorney Philip Silverman, gave a presentation, noting that the proposed site, although still in CenTech Park, had been moved to another location not abutting wetlands. He said that the company had seen an opportunity to locate the farm in Grafton in preparation for growing marijuana for medical use and perhaps, at some time in the future, also for recreational use if a ballot question that is proposed for the November elections is approved.
The men told the board that the cost to start the farm would be between $8-9 million. Heavy security personnel needs, systems, and procedures were quoted as elements driving the cost.
Board chair Jennifer Thomas asked about the size of the proposed growing facility. The answer was 20,000 square feet to start in a building that had 50,000 square feet floor room. Brady remarked that, while recreational marijuana is at the moment illegal in Massachusetts, if it were to become legal, his company would be interested to serving that market, too. This led to a discussion about whether a letter of non-opposition to this plan to the state could be limited to medical marijuana use only so as to preclude recreational use in town should such be voted in the November 2016 election.
Selectman Craig Dauphinais, asked Brady how he could manage such a project when his background was in building residential property, to which Brady replied that there really wasn’t much difference between the two. He added that his company had spent considerable time talking to people in Colorado, where both medical and recreational marijuana use has been lawful for several years.
The chair then opened the floor to public comment. James Gallagher, who has been a vocal opponent to the Sage Cannabis facility on Route 122, thanked the board and the facility’s sponsors for being far more open about this project and the thought given to locating it outside a residential neighborhood. He then asked if this facility might be used for recreational production as well, to which Brady replied, “Not if the town objects.”
The board ended the hearing for the night without conclusion, with it to be continued to another time.