Medical marijuana facilities planned for Faunce Corner Road

By Douglas McCulloch | Sep 11, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Tim Keogh of Coastal Compassion discusses his proposed facility.

Two medical marijuana facilities proposed for Faunce Corner Road got the green light from the Select Board on Tuesday.

The board voted to grant the projects' applicants "letters of non-opposition," paving the way for the process to move forward. The facilities must now secure a special permit from the Planning Board.

The first proposal, put forth by Coastal Compassion, would build a 6,200 square-foot medical dispensary at 529 Faunce Corner Road.

President Tim Keogh – also the CEO of Denver-based AmeriCann – explained that Coastal Compassion representatives also plan a cultivation facility in Freetown, and are seeking to open the Dartmouth dispensary location to complement that.

“It’s really just going to focus on the retail side of our license,” Keogh explained. “We will not be growing and cultivating or processing at our proposed location in Dartmouth. This will be strictly a dispensary location.”

On the topic of security, member Stanley Mickelson asked what the plan is for conducting transactions and handling money. He noted that because marijuana is illegal on a federal level, the company might be limited in its banking options. Keogh said there is a bank in the state he will be able to do business with.

"We actually do have access to banking; we are able to process debit card transactions," Keogh said. "We are not able to use credit cards. Cash transactions do occur, but we do have access to banking."

Select Board Chair Frank Gracie asked what the company’s future plans could be as voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana. Keogh noted that is still up in the air amid uncertainty in the state legal framework.

“The framework that’s put in place allows for what they call ‘virtual gateways’ allowing medical marijuana facilities to utilize their existing infrastructure – cultivation and dispensaries – to service medical patients and adult customers,” Keogh explained. “How that regulatory structure is going to play out, we don’t really know.”

The board agreed to file a letter of non-opposition for the facility with a 4-1 vote. Member Kelli Taglianetti voted against the proposal.

“I cannot support this in Dartmouth, and I certainly can’t support it in this area,” Taglianetti said.

The board also voted 4-1 to submit a letter of non-opposition for Elevated Access Center, which has proposed a combined cultivation and dispensary at a two-story, 20,000 square-foot facility at 508 Faunce Corner Road. Taglianetti voted against the second proposal.

In line with the company’s vision of concentrating on wellness, the facility would also include a fully-functional wellness center offering programs including yoga, meditation, and nutrition health, explained Executive Director Rebecca Adams.

Adams noted that expansion is possible once the site is up and running, as the Darmouth location would be an ideal one. She added that the company is entirely locally owned and non-profit.

Gracie asked Adams how the legalization of recreational marijuana would impact the company's business.

“We feel strongly that we will be able to have a successful medical marijuana facility only, because there are distinct tax advantages to it, and medical marijuana patients want to remain somewhat anonymous,” Adams said. “They don’t want to go the same place as a recreational dispensary.”

With approval, Adams said the company is aiming to have plans complete in 60 days, a permit application complete in 30 days, and a six-month construction cycle.

Due to town zoning, which requires at least 4,000 feet of separation between facilities, only one facility may be able to operate in the Faunce Corner Road area. Both facilities are located nearly directly across the street from each other.

The town voted to approve its first medical marijuana facility last year. Last September, the town signed a host agreement with William Noyes Webster Foundation for a facility at 508 Faunce Corner Road, which was set to open this past spring. That location was later revised to 350 Faunce Corner Road in early 2017.

The current status of the proposal is unclear. According to Planning Director John Hansen, no plans have been submitted to his office for that facility.

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