Mayor Signs ‘Non-Opposition’ Letter, Favoring Healthy Pharms

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini has signed a letter of “non-opposition” on behalf of Healthy Pharms, which plans to locate a medical marijuana dispensary in the Broadway industrial park.

The term “non-opposition,” as used by the mayor, is considered a key element in the company’s bid to win approval from the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The last time such a letter was prepared, it resulted not only in Healthy Pharms securing a provisional license from DPH, but also led to former state Senator James P. Jajuga being assessed a $2,500 fine for lobbying without being registered.

“Our non-opposition at this time is wholly contingent upon the Healthy Pharms seeking and obtaining approval of a special permit by the Haverhill City Council…,” Fiorentini wrote in a letter addressed to DPH.

While Fiorentini signed the letter May 1, an earlier one was based on a draft provided by Jajuga, rewritten by the mayor and placed on Haverhill City Council letterhead. It was signed by then council President Robert H. Scatamacchia, who argued in February, 2014, he did not understand the significance of the document.

One of the organizers of a petition opposed to Healthy Pharms told WHAV earlier DPH’s provisional license for Healthy Pharms would be dead if councilors repudiate its earlier letter of “no objection.”

Meanwhile, Dueling Petitions Appear Before City Council

Petitions for and against a proposed medical marijuana dispensary in Haverhill are also before the city council Tuesday night as the body considers authorizing the mayor to establish a host agreement negotiating committee.

On the agenda, councilors are expected to vote on an order to authorize Mayor James J. Fiorentini to submit a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. It would amend a registration by Healthy Pharms LLC, changing its proposed site from Hale Street to Research Drive, off route 97 and Interstate 495. The order would also allow Fiorentini to form a negotiating committee “to assist in negotiation of a host agreement with Healthy Pharms LLC.”

Three members of the city’s Haverhill Overdose Prevention and Education (HOPE) task force drafted the opposition petition. Megan Shea, John Cuneo and John L. Maddox, Haverhill Public Schools’ pediatrician argue, “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.”

About 600 handwritten names, some with incomplete information, appear on a petition supporting a dispensary. Also submitted to the council is a list of 83 respondents to an online survey. A majority, comprised of residents and non-residents, gave comments in support of such a facility.

Although opponents delivered more than 200 signatures to City Hall at the end of March, the item was mysteriously dropped from consideration. Council President John A. Michitson told WHAV the decision to drop the matter was related to a similar topic to be raised by Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

“The mayor decided not to move forward with agenda item. Dr. Maddox wanted to put a related item on agenda so that he could speak regarding the mayor’s item. The mayor pulled it, so Dr. Maddox pulled his item. It’s that simple.” When asked how the two items are related, Michitson said, “The petition itself is not tied to mayor’s agenda item.”

One thought on “Mayor Signs ‘Non-Opposition’ Letter, Favoring Healthy Pharms

  1. WHAV….can I suggest an article???

    We all know the mayor LOVES the idea of having a pot distribution center and all the money that comes with it move into Haverhill. But where do other top city officials stand on it???

    Jim Scully? He’s spent a life time working his a** off to send the right message to kids about staying off drugs and still does daily. Where does he stand?

    Chief DeNaro? Who knows more about drug related issues on the city payroll than the chief? And what is his opinion about marijuana being a gateway drug?

    Representatives Brian Dempsey and Linda Dean Campbell. They each have several kids at very impressionable ages…what message do they feel this sends to kids throughout the community?

    The mayor has probably instituted a gag order to city employees…but it’s worth asking these folks where they stand. Citizens have a right to know.