Boston Mayor Says He Will Block Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Mayor Martin J. Walsh moved this week to stymie the opening of two medical marijuana dispensaries in Boston, voicing his toughest opposition so far at a forum in Dorchester and firing off a letter to state officials urging swift action if inaccuracies are found in the companies’ applications.
“I am writing to express my serious concern regarding the two registered marijuana dispensary applicants in the city of Boston,” the mayor wrote in a letter dated Tuesday that was addressed to the state’s secretary of health and human services, John Polanowicz, and the executive director of the state’s medical marijuana program, Karen Van Unen.
Walsh said questions have been raised about the two companies, Green Heart Holistic Health & Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is eyeing a 3,000-square-foot dispensary at 70 Southampton St., and Good Chemistry of Massachusetts Inc., which has planned a store on Boylston Street.
He noted that the state is assessing the veracity of dispensary applications and urged “swift and uniform action” if inaccuracies are found, saying that would reaffirm confidence in the regulatory process.
“If any information provided in either application is confirmed to be inaccurate, I ask that the Department of Public Health immediately eliminate that application from being eligible for a final certification of registration,” Walsh wrote.
A state health and human services spokeswoman did not return repeated calls for comment Tuesday.
The letter follows public comments Walsh made during a community presentation Monday. The mayor said he is “dead set” against marijuana dispensaries, has long opposed medical marijuana laws, and would prevent stores in Boston that sell cannabis.
“I have made it very clear to the state that I don’t want these dispensaries in our city,” Walsh told about 200 people at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, a small wooden house of worship on a corner of Humboldt Avenue, in a neighborhood where opposition to the marijuana dispensaries is fierce.
But Walsh probably faces an uphill battle to stop the shops, analysts said. With a voter-approved law establishing the dispensaries and a state licensing process underway, Walsh might be able to stall the process by using the city’s zoning laws, but ultimately would have little power to permanently ban the stores, said Jeffrey M. Berry, a Tufts University political science professor.