Recreational Marijuana Could be Headed Here

The medicinal marijuana shop slated to open on McClellan Highway at the former Enterprise Rental Car facility may become a recreational marijuana shop.

According to a source working with Newton-based Happy Valley Ventures LLC, the company will most likely apply to the state for a recreational dispensary license.

Happy Valley gained unanimous Boston Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approval last year to open a medicinal-marijuana dispensary at 220 McClellan Highway.

The ZBA approval last year was one of the last hurdles Happy Valley Ventures had to clear before the state’s Department of Public Health opening up its marijuana shop here. Recently the company gained state Chapter 91 approval for the proposed marijuana dispensary. The company had to go through the Chapter 91 license because the McClellan Highway location abuts the Chelsea Creek.

Under the recreational marijuana laws the state has invited companies that already went through the exhaustive process of gaining a medicinal marijuana dispensary license to be some of the first to apply for a recreational-marijuana dispensary license.

Recreational pot shops are set to open in the state on July 1. Happy Valley Ventures has experience with medical marijuana facilities in other state and said the plan is to create a state of the art, high tech 7,500 sq. ft. marijuana facility. Last year the Ludlow Board of Selectmen signed off on Happy Valley’s plan to begin cultivating medical marijuana for its proposed dispensaries in Eastie, as well as in Amherst and Gloucester.

Despite a 29-15 vote against the dispensary by the Orient Heights Neighborhood Council (OHNC), the dispensary received widespread support in the neighborhood outside of Orient Heights and from former City Councilor Sal LaMattina.

The neighborhood overwhelmingly supported both the medical marijuana and recreational marijuana ballot questions during two previous state elections. Patients both here in Eastie and in neighboring communities testified at OHNC meetings and the ZBA hearing that too many patients do not have easy access to medical marijuana due to the slow process of dispensaries opening statewide.  With 35,000 medicinal marijuana patients in the Commonwealth and only a handful of dispensaries patients here said opening the 220 McClellan Highway facility would begin improving access to this medicinal therapy.

Others have said the proposed facility is an ideal location because it is separated from the neighborhood by the four-lane McClellan Highway and will be arguably the most secure building in the neighborhood.

According to the source Happy Valley Ventures will begin a widespread community process as the propose the change from a medical to recreational facility in the coming weeks. The group will most likely not limit its meeting solely to the OHNC because the company feels the dispensary is a widespread community issue not limited to one section of Eastie.

Happy Valley could not be reached for official comment on the plans.

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