Group Breaks Ranks, Fights Haverhill Marijuana Store

O'Dea at WikiCommons. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Three members of the city’s Haverhill Overdose Prevention and Education (HOPE) task force are breaking ranks and seeking to kill plans by Healthy Pharms to open a medical marijuana store in Haverhill.

Members are collecting signatures on a petition, urging Haverhill city councilors to nix the deal. Megan Shea, John Cuneo and John L. Maddox, Haverhill Public Schools’ pediatrician, are spearheading the petition drive.

“…the undersigned are opposed to the placement of a medical marijuana dispensary in Haverhill,” the petition states, and goes on the cite “health and safety” reasons. It also argues, “the proposed operator for the Haverhill dispensary, Healthy Pharms, has already been noted as misrepresenting itself and the community support it allegedly received from local officials.” One of the petitioners told WHAV the state Department of Public Health’s provisional license for Healthy Pharms is dead if councilors repudiate an earlier letter of “no objection.”

Last year, Haverhill City Councilor Robert H. Scatamacchia said an undated letter of support signed by him was obtained under false pretenses. Healthy Pharms used the letter as “Evidence of Local Support.” He said Mayor James J. Fiorentini supplied the letter and retyped it on to Haverhill City Council letterhead, on behalf of lobbyist James P. Jajuga.

Jajuga, also a former state senator and current Methuen city councilor, was later fined $2,500 for late disclosure of his drug lobbying work. William F. Galvin, secretary of the commonwealth, levied the fine.

Petitioners also believe Healthy Pharms cannot move forward with plans if the city refuses to negotiate a “host agreement” with the company. Such an agreement could include payments to the city.

Other reasons for their opposition include Haverhill’s status as “the epicenter of the Essex County substance abuse epidemic” and the existence of alternative medical marijuana forms available from ordinary pharmacies.

Back in November, city councilors adopted its Administration and Finance Committee’s plan to allow marijauna businesses in an area of the Broadway business park, near routes 97 and 495. They rejected both pleas to add more areas for marijuana facilities and a planning board recommendation to omit northerly areas of the business park.

7 thoughts on “Group Breaks Ranks, Fights Haverhill Marijuana Store

  1. Aside from the shenanigans that went on behind the scenes regarding licensing, it’s apparent this group doesn’t care about the “will of The People” or the VOTE. Haverhill voted for this overwhelmingly with 64% of the vote, and now this group is putting themselves above that of our Democratic process? Brilliant.

    • What you say is true, but that vote was BEFORE we, the citizens of this City and also throughout the area, knew about the large number of deaths associated with drugs, and the fact that marijuana is a “gateway” drug. As a result of this new information, a great many voters have changed their minds with respect to the this issue. ALSO, the vote was BEFORE anyone knew that Healthy Pharms misrepresented their issues, and BEFORE the HOPE meeting. If you have been watching what’s happening all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire, they are experiencing the same problems with overdoses, inability to control marijuana use, etc.

      • People are dying from heroin (not pot) because they have no idea what they are consuming. Heroin (and cocaine) are 100% imported (see porous borders) and obviously not legal, hence not regulated like alcohol. Part of the heroin disproportionate deaths are because heroin users are purchasing drugs mixed with other toxins or other pharma grade drugs.

        In the end, it comes down to supply & demand. Good luck deterring people’s insatiable appetite to use drugs (including alcohol), we know how Prohibition worked out right? Anyone that consumes alcohol and is against pot (or any other drug) really needs to look in the mirror and see the word “hypocrite”. Same goes for various drugs, including pharmaceutical drugs, which are handed out like candy, but no politician will touch those because it’s too profitable, the industry donates so much campaign and lobbying donations no politician will risk that.

        I believe in the personal liberty of an individual to make their own choice, even if it is harmful to themselves (but not others). We have wasted enough money and enough resources for decades of failed policy. I personally do not smoke pot, but I think it should be legalized, along with most drugs. We’re simply never going to deter The People’s demand for them, regulate it and tax it like alcohol. Or do you believe the current policy of non-violent drug users in prison is both prudent and cost effective, and people continuing to buy something without knowing what’s in it? The money would be better spent elsewhere.

  2. With all of the deaths, arrests, issues and problems associated with drug trafficking in Haverhill, why on earth would we want Healthy Pharms to open an establishment that will only bring more crime and grief to the City???? This is especially alarming when Healthy Pharms has already proven itself to be misrepresenting information associated with its business.

    HOPE is right on with this one and I want to sign their petition. Where must I go to sign?

  3. Per usual laws are passed at the state level, that allow cities and towns some if not total control of implementation within their jurisdiction and then it is months or in many cases years before anything is finalized. Why do small town people like to force their personal like or dislike onto everyone. I have no dog in this fight but let the politics play out somewhere other than in the backstabbing,, nasty, personal stage of city/town politics. all I hear in these matters is “It is my bat and ball and if I can’t have my way I’m taking them both and going home.”

  4. Another issue I wondered about is the fact that Jajuga chose Haverhill and NOT Methuen, his home town where he is now a city councilor………why was that Jim ? What was so good about Haverhill that is not about Methuen ? Maybe the ole” not in my backyard’ scenario reared it’s ugly head ?

    Also, the council NEVER asked Jajuga for the original document that he claims was altered. Why was that ? I would think that there would have been a copy in the Healthy Pharma Lawyers’ file…no ? Of course there was. Sadly, many on the council have no guts and they shoulod have stuffed this whole proposal based on the fruad that was perpetuated on the residents of the city. The Mayor should have been censured and an ethics complaint should have been filed.