Concerns raised at public hearing for proposed Marlborough recreational marijuana shop

Twin Boro Crossing proposed location of Vedi Naturals
Photo/Vicki Greene

By Vicki Greene, Contributing Writer

Marlborough – Concerns regarding traffic, security, parking and location were expressed by several area residents at a Jan. 27 public hearing held during the City Council’s meeting regarding a special permit request by Vedi Natural, Inc. of Clinton to locate a recreational use marijuana shop at Twin Boro Crossing on the Marlborough/Northborough line.

Vedi Naturals is seeking an adult recreational use permit and does not plan on seeking a medical license.  The 505 Boston Post Road West location would be the first shop opened by the company’s founder and CEO, Jigar Patel.  Patel told the City Council and attendees at the public hearing that he has seven years of experience in small retail businesses, marketing and business development.  His interest in this industry grew through the Mass. Medical Marijuana Program as “a caregiver for his family.”

Garden Remedies, a medical and recreational use dispensary, opened on the east side of Marlborough last spring.  Patel said that he was employed at Garden Remedies’ Newton facility as a dispensing agent for six months.

At the public hearing Attorney Brian Falk of Mirick O’Connell reviewed the business and initial site plan that had been submitted to the city. Falk also represented Garden Remedies and emphasized that he will be following the same state and local guidelines in this case.

Vedi’s security plan will include cameras covering 98 percent of the property including interior and exterior, the storage vault, every transaction register, at two check points for customer identification and at employee entrances with pass cards.  The plan, as required by the state, includes 90 days of video storage.

During the public portion of the hearing, several area residents expressed concern about the traffic flow backing up at the Route 20 traffic light as well as the entrance and exit turning out of the plaza parking lot onto Boundary Street.

There were also questions regarding parking.  According to Falk there are currently 78 parking spaces at the plaza and 65 are required.  He said they expect to have “10 to 20” vehicles for the dispensary at any given time.”

David Fisher, 246 Boundary St., said he is opposed to the Twin Boro location for a marijuana dispensary. He said he has lived at the same address for 21 years and is a retired Mass. State Police captain, as well as an attorney.

“I can tell you from personal experience these things never go well,” Fisher told the Council. “The traffic at the intersection (of Boundary and Route 20) and distance to the daycare center and a half-mile down the road to the (Algonquin Regional ) high school where young kids will be trying to get their hands on these things,” makes  the location not appropriate for this type of facility.

Not all were opposed to the Vedi Naturals location. Keith St. John, 148 Stearns Road, a former candidate for mayor, said he felt that the revenue generated will only help fund the much discussed “west side emergency station.”

City Councilor Laura Wagner said she was impressed by Patel’s more holistic approach to treatment.

“I think it’s (the dispensary) a really important resource particularly for people in our community who suffer from chronic pain and alternatives to opioids and other drugs,” she said.  “I’m also really impressed with the security as I’ve checked out Garden Remedies and certainly when it comes to the liquor stores it’s (security) is far different from every liquor store and business that sells liquor in this community.”

The city is estimated to see annual tax revenue of $300,000 from the dispensary,” Falk noted. The Council referred the special permit request to the Urban Affairs Committee.  It is mandated by the Cannabis Control Commission that every dispensary applying for a state license must first have a completed Community Host Agreement from the city which in many cases requires a special permit.