Medical Marijuana Company Promises Share of Proceeds, Gifts to Charity

Haverhill City Councilors William J. Macek, Mary Ellen Daly-O’Brien and Michael S. McGonagle review the recommended location of a zone for medical marijuana facilities. (WHAV photo.)

City Councilors, from left, William J. Macek, Mary Ellen Daly O'Brien and Michael S. McGonagle study a map of the city's Medical Marijuana Overlay District, located off Broadway in the area of Research and Computer drives.

Citing his company’s history as the state’s first licensed medical marijuana dispensary, Alternative Therapies Group’s executive director says Haverhill could benefit from ATG’s “extended head start” and quickly begin receiving host city benefits.

In a presentation to the City Council, Christopher Edwards described Alternative Therapies Group as a reputable medical organization founded in 2012 in hopes of gaining permission to dispense medical marijuana. The company opened the state’s first licensed medical marijuana dispensary in Salem in June 2015.

“We are able to operate on an accelerated timeline, due to the extended head start awarded to us by the state. (Another) group applying today would need 18 to 24 months to open its doors,” Edwards said, pointing out that his company already has product, staff, and policies and procedures that have been in existence for more than two years.

And he reminded the council that the sooner a dispensary begins business, the sooner it can begin to share the benefits of a host community agreement.

Edwards said ATG is prepared to offer the city a “generous” host city agreement, beginning with $100,000 as the company meets construction milestones. Also during the first year, ATG would pay 1.25 percent of its gross revenues to the city and make a $25,000 donation to a worthy charity.

In its second and subsequent years of operation, ATG would increase its payment to 3 percent of gross revenues and continue with an annual $25,000 charitable donation.

“We don’t expect any negative impacts to be imposed by our presence,” he said.

Edwards will next appear before the city’s Marijuana Advisory Committee on Thursday, before returning to the City Council to seek a special permit to locate in the Medical Marijuana Overlay District off Broadway.

While it was challenging to find a parcel in the approved zone, Edwards said he and company CFO Julio Fuentes located a spot, bordered by Research and Computer drives. The lot is large enough to accommodate a 6,000-square-foot building and ample parking, Edwards said.

“It has a good balance between patient accessibility and a discreet location that doesn’t abut any residences, schools or child care centers,” Edwards said.

The company would give priority to local residents for construction jobs as well as ATG staff.

Edwards said the company employs many people from the Merrimack Valley, and several from Haverhill.

“The staff genuinely share the belief that when patients are facing a health crisis, they deserve access to every remedy possible,” Edwards said.

Edwards said the company has a strong relationship with the city of Salem.

“They would have good things to say about us,” he said.

Edwards invited councilors to visit ATG’s dispensary and its cultivation facility in Amesbury.

Mayoral aide David Van Dam told councilors that Mayor James J. Fiorentini plans to schedule trips to visit both ATG and Sanctuary Medicinals, another medical marijuana dispensary looking for support from the city to operate here.

12 thoughts on “Medical Marijuana Company Promises Share of Proceeds, Gifts to Charity

  1. This is all total bull. What’s going on is fleecing by politicians of small businesses. Does the council put CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid through the same BS? How about the Methadone clinic? These stores should be treated no different than a liquor store.

    • Great point, Rich! How is dispensing medical marijuana any different than the medicines CVS provides? If this wasn’t a money grab from the lobbyists like Duncan pointed out, all the way to the offering of bribes of where to locate these facilities at the local level, then why not treat it like every other drug and sell it through pharmacies?

      Where is Mary Daley O’Brien on this issue? Isn’t she a nurse? Isn’t her professional duty to look out for the best interests of patients requiring healthcare? She’s again proved to be a total fraud and puppet for the mayor.

      • Jack this whole process is BULL. Haverhill will find itself with no shops and no grow facilities. They already have a huge grow facility in Georgetown that could have been in Haverhill providing good paying jobs and taxes already but NO. It’s sad to watch it really is.

        • Today WHAV reports on a story of the Chamber of Commerce holding an opioid crisis meeting, and a story of the mayor working to take bribes from a company to sells drugs at hugely inflated prices.
          You literally can’t make the hypocrisy of officials in this city.

      • “The company would give priority to local residents for construction jobs” –

        This actually cracked me up. We heard the same exact thing with Harbor Place. Of course, Delbrook Construction is run by a Fish Family Member, and they are “THE” players in MA when it comes to lobbying, campaign donations, and influence. When the no-bid contract was awarded to build, anyone reading care to guess how many LOCAL workers/contractors were able to get in on the action on building Harbor Place?

        #CronyCapitalism

  2. “Alternative Therapies Group” –

    They’ve pent over $94K in lobbying through Torrisi Strategic Advisors LLC over the past few years, wonder if it pays off. Lupoli uses them too (over $100K spent) and got what he wanted, so maybe results matter? Not sure, they are not true pay-to-play members as their campaign stuffing donations are a bit sparse to crony pols who always have a hand out, while having a hand in the taxpayer trough. However, Torrisi Strategic Advisors has spread over $7K in donations to pols in the area, including Mayor Jimmy and of course both State House & Senate Democrat PAC’s, so they of course know the game. Not quite the players Dempsey’s ML Strategies folks, or Suffolk Group, but for this area, the right palms got greased.

    The People spoke via ballot measure, and the ideologue and hubris filled pols took The People’s power away once again. The politicking in Haverhill is simply a microcosm of that paradigm. Screw them all and keep voting against your own interests & against your personal liberty.

    • Maybe we should start our own lobbying firm. What do they have that we don’t ? Oh yeah right. They have “connections” within the system. What a joke this state is !

  3. For this company to offer giving up 3% of it’s “gross” revenues the profit margins for the product they’re selling must be HUGE. At a time when the high costs of healthcare is a daily issue, here is a company literally selling a bribe in order maximize it’s profitability. If this whole process is to be looked at as truly a distribution of “medicine”, and not a means for the city to create its own revenue source, then the best interests of patients would be served by the company lowering the price of the “medicine” they sell. The company redirecting their huge profits to the city in order to open its doors in the city is nothing more than an exploitation the people seeking this form of healthcare. When healthcare provider Anna Jacques came to Haverhill looking to open their facility on Primrose Street, did they promise bribes and gifts? Wouldn’t there have been outrage if they were going to bribe city officials so that they could screw patients with the cost of healthcare they provide? Because this is viewed as pot, and not medicine, and therefore not truly healthcare, then everyone thinks it’s okay to exploit the process. It’s guaranteed that Failurentini is going to auction his approval off to the highest bidder. If the mayor is honest in his concern for patients, shouldn’t he direct the “gifts” this company is offering back to the people that need this medicine in the form of lower prices?

      • Jack, wouldn’t it be in the best interest of patients seeking this medicine to permit as many companies as possible to locate in the city? More distributions companies means more competition, and more competition means lower prices. But the mayor is going to name a single company who will funnel profits from their over priced drugs right into his failed administration.

  4. The City of Haverhill can certainly use the $$$. Some of it can actually be used for the pay raise that the three councillors shown voted for. As an aside we have city employees that earn less than the Massachusetts minimum wage of $11.00 Shame on us. we approve city council raises or at least they approved the increase for themselves and we have employees earning less than minimum wage. The marijuana money can go directly to those that need and deserve it .

    • Well said Mr Edwards. Well said. Let us not forget the raise the legislature voted themselves as well. The corruption has become normalcy now and most people do not even pay attention any longer.