Medical marijuana dispensary proposed for Lee business park


LEE — A medical marijuana dispensary could be the next tenant for the Quarry Hill Business Park.

Springfield-based Mass Alternative Care Inc. is negotiating to buy two lots totaling 4 acres within the commercial development off Route 102 from the Lee Community Development Corp, according to company representatives.

"The cultivation processing will be in Chicopee and our product shipped to Lee," said Kevin Collins.

During a Lee Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night, Collins said the marijuana grown at a yet-to-be constructed facility in Chicopee will be sold there, as well as in Amherst and Lee. The 2,500-square-foot dispensary, nearly two miles from Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike, could be operational by March 2018, ready to serve more than 1,000 people, officials said.

According to the documents filed with the town, the Lee dispensary would be open seven days a week and only to Massachusetts residents allowed to purchase up to a 60-day supply of medical cannabis.

The cultivation and sale of marijuana products for treatment of pain and a number of chronic medical conditions was approved in a November 2012 state ballot referendum. The DPH began formulating a licensing process in early 2013.

Collins said patients must get a prescription referral from a physician and a medical marijuana identification card, the latter through the state Department of Public Health.

"Without that card, you can't get into any of our facilities," he said. "We will have state-of-the-art security."

The company still needs the DPH to sign off on the Lee site and meet the applicable town zoning and planning regulations — all predicated on receiving a letter of support from the three selectmen who were hearing about the proposal for the first time.

The board postponed a decision until its July 19 meeting to give them, townspeople and the current Quarry Hill tenants a chance to comment on the proposal.

"It's good to get this out," said Chairman Thomas Wickham. "Give it a couple of weeks and we'll get back to you."

Selectman David Consolati was a bit skeptical of the proposal, concerned for the commercial and residential neighbors to the medical marijuana facility.

"When you came in about the Housatonic site [a few months ago], there was significant pushback on that due to its location," he said.

Consolati was referring to former automobile service station across from a McDonald's eatery near the turnpike — an area that is a mix of commercial and residential use. Homeowners in the area were initially riled up about the location when another medical marijuana company, Heka Health Inc., expressed interest in the location, but never formally submitted a proposal to the town or DPH.

Heka is currently seeking DPH site approval for Pittsfield, Westfield and West Springfield. Manna Wellness Inc and Khem Organics Inc are the only other two firms seeking to open a dispensary in the county, both in Pittsfield.

As for Mass Alternative Care's leadership structure, the nonprofit told the Lee selectmen they are controlled by a board of directors. Collins' father, also named Kevin Collins, is the president and CEO of the management team, which includes a pharmacist and head of security Ronald Campurciani.

Collins is a former National Hockey League on-ice official; Campurciani currently the West Springfield police chief, who said he isn't being paid to assist the company with its security measures.

The elder Collins indicated the company wants to be forthcoming with its plans and be a good neighbor.

"We want to hear from everybody," he said. "We want to hear concerns."

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233


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