The attorney representing the company planning a $6 million medicinal marijuana complex in Gloucester’s Blackburn Industrial park says his company hopes to complete permitting by this spring and open its doors early in 2018 now that the City Council has stood by an ordinance that essentially gives it competitive protections.
Joel Favazza, who represents Happy Valley Ventures, said his company is looking “full speed ahead” after a 5-4 Tuesday night council vote that shot down a move to remove a restriction from the city’s 3-year-old medical marijuana zoning ordinance preventing two such businesses from operating with 1,500 feet of each other.
The restriction was simply aimed at limiting places where medical marijuana facilities could operate, and is part of a series of rules that also bar two or more facilities from opening within 1,500 feet of schools or churches, within 500 feet or residences and other buildings such as bars and restaurants.
But the spacing rule took on added significant late last year when a second company — Mayflower Medicinals of Boston — sought a permit for dispensary at 41 Great Republic Drive, directly across the industrial park road from Happy Valley’s planned site on what is now a vacant lot at 38 Great Republic.
The council rejected the Mayflower application Jan. 10, based in large part on security and economic concerns, the opposing councilors said at the time. But a lifting of the 1,500-foot mandate would have opened the door for a new bid by Mayflower of some other company looking to open — as Mayflower proposed — within the existing Swan Net East Coast Services building across the road.
“This is what we were hoping for,” Favazza said of the vote, which went against a Planning Board recommendation to pull out the 1,500-foot mandate. Council President Joe Ciolino,